For those in our audience who don’t remember, Circuit City was once a large and thriving chain of electronics stores. It filed for bankruptcy and liquidated in 2009, then returned as an online-only brand just a few months later. When the new owner liquidated in turn, the new owners made a shocking announcement: they planned to revive the brand as a retail chain of brick and mortar stores. Now the opening of those stores has been pushed back again.
When a brand rises from the dead, we call it zombie retail. Today, most zombie brands only roam the internet, trading on familiarity, like Filene’s Basement or Linens ‘N’ Things. You might remember, though, that the re-zombified Circuit City announced plans to open a prototype store in Dallas in June, then expand across the country.
That store still isn’t open, and the company’s CEO told TWICE that they’ve hit the snooze button on opening physical stores again to work on the store concept. The company has hired “generational consultants,” who have apparently not yet told executives that millennials tend to shop online.
Still, as Best Buy has learned, shoppers do like having a showroom to check out gadgets in person, and can be persuaded to make actual purchases there.
The planned stores have grown from mini stores of 4,000 square feet to mini big boxes of 20,000 square feet. That’s the size of a smaller Circuit City store in the original iteration of the chain.
Dallas might not even be the site of the relaunch: other proposed sites are the New York metropolitan area or California. At this rate, maybe by the time the stores open, they’ll change the concept from electronics to scented candles.
If you’re yearning to shop Circuit City, you can check out the company’s Amazon storefront, which opened earlier this year. Will the real-life stores ever materialize? Don’t bet against this especially tenacious zombie just yet.