Goodbye Circuit City - Final liquidation begins January 17th, 2009 - Updated

By Xin Lu on 17 January 2009 (Updated 18 August 2011) 9 comments
Photo: Circuit City

Circuit City officially announced that it is going out of business today. The number two largest electronics retailer begins final liquidation sales on January 17th, 2009 in all of its stores in the United States.  Read on for details. 

Circuit City's site has a detailed FAQ here.  I have summarized the most important information below:

  • The stores will close as soon as all merchandise is liquidated.  It is expected that the sale will last until March.
  • Circuit City gift cards are still valid for purchases during the liquidation.  Use them now if you have them because they will be worthless after the store closes!
  • Specific discounts will be up to the liquidators and all sales are final.
  • Canadian Circuit City stores will stay open.
  • Cash and most credit cards are accepted, but not personal checks.
  • Extended warranties already purchased will not be affected.

I think deal hunters are probably wondering how much of a discount they can expect from Circuit City.  I actually went to a Circuit City liquidation a month ago when they shut down a portion of their stores and the price cuts were decent.   The biggest discounts were on hardware and big screens which were 40% to 60% off, and the smallest discounts were on video games which were 25% off. We did find some decent games for under $10, but they were mostly old.   The particular store I went to actually had their shelves and other fixtures for sale.  Basically,  they are trying to get rid of everything, and perhaps you could negotiate prices with the liquidators tomorrow at Circuit City.

It should be interesting to see what the liquidation will be like, and I am sure a lot of people will show up like vultures flocking onto a carcass, but hopefully everyone will be able to find a good deal on something they need.  Finally, I think it is a bit sad that Best Buy will be losing its closest competition and  I hope the employees of Circuit City will be able to find jobs in the 60 days they have been given. 

Update:

I just went to the local Circuit City in San Mateo and the discounts were as follows: 30% off cables, 20% off CDs and DVDs, and 10% off everything else.  This obviously isn't spectacular, but the line had about 50 people in it.  The store I mentioned that had the 40% to 60% discounts was in East Palo Alto, and I went there in the 4th week of their liquidation.  So I guess the better deals may come later.

Have you gone to the Circuit City liquidation?  Share your experience and best deals here!

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Guest's picture
Jen

Deal-seekers be warned: certain liquidators are notorious for increasing the prices on items and then marking them as 50% or whatever off. What seems like a great deal might actually turn out to be about the normal price at another store. Don't buy something just because it is a deal, and if you do buy, make sure you know the price at other stores before going to make sure you aren't getting ripped off.

Guest's picture

I don't think I've shopped at Circuit City more than once or twice. I can't remember which electronic store it was, but one of them charged a restocking fee for returns, I'm thinking it was CC which turned me off from shopping them. I will be staying far away as we don't have the money for any new electronics, and they aren't a need anyway. I hope those with gift cards get some great deals!

Guest's picture
Carrie

With LNT, they started with 20% off and took MONTHS to get down to 80% off. So I wouldn't get too excited right away. Then again, if you are looking for a specific, popular item they will probably all be gone by the time they are up to the deep discounts. Xin, I'm surprised they already had 60% off at that store -- I wonder if that was done before they hired this liquidator or just a one-store decision.

Guest's picture
kf

Our store in PA had the same discounts. Almost everything was at 10% off. Amazon's regular prices are better. Know what things cost! At least I didn't see anything marked up from regular prices like the liquidators did at CompUSA and OfficeMax.

I checked out the laptop inventory yesterday right after the closing announcement to see if there was anything I wanted. There were 100 or so people waiting for the store to open this morning and the parking lot was full all day. When I went in this evening ( after things had settled down ) most of the laptops were gone. I don't know if they pulled them or they flew out of there. 10% discount is less of a discount than most of CC's sales. There were around 20 people in line at the checkouts when I left. I feel bad for the workers, they lose their jobs and the next day they have to deal with the crowds.

Guest's picture
Guest

Ah... I would wait - 10% off a laptop that is already overpriced... I'm happy to let the amateurs that think they're getting a great deal fight over those --

Call me in a couple of months, when they really start to slash prices - sure what's left might not be the conventional items that everyone goes ga-ga over, laptops... games... tvs... etc -- but I'm willing to bet they'll have some things that would be very useful, but you might not have originally bought due to the price.

Guest's picture
Guest

Here is a good idea...if they can get so many people for 10% why not just have 10% off all the time. I went today to the CC in Huntington Beach...line must have been about 60 people. Do people really get that excited for 10% off? I mean I can see if it was 50-60% off, but just a little bit off and they probably had more sales today than they have any other Saturday of the year.

How about...10% off Saturdays at CC. Stupid people will pay for anything if they think they are getting a deal. Just look at Kohls...everything is always 60% off...I've never see anyone pay retail at Kohls.

Guest's picture
Kelsey

The first day of the liquidation (1/17) I went to a Circuit City store in Durham, NC at about 7pm. The entire store was 10% off and no higher. Liquidators do not allow you to try and bargain down the price, and it's out of the hands of the store employees. There were about 15 people, A.K.A.-poorly informed consumers, in line that seemed to think they were getting a great deal. 10%?!!? That is nothing! Especially since all sales from 1/17 onward are considered final, no if's/and's/but's. And, somehow I have a distinct feeling that the less-than-thrilling (i.e.- dissapointing) Black Friday deals were better.

Of course, if you do buy the warranty, which is pretty much never worth the investment, it will be covered by a third party company. My question would be though, will this 3rd part company still be around towards the end of that 3-year warranty? Considering big corporations seem to be dropping like flies all around us.

We are also left to wonder, how long does Best Buy have? They are said to have a higher amount of liquidity than Circuit City, but how much will be enough? Will the big box electronics stores face inevitable extinction? Or will the threat of a Best Buy monopoly loom? After all, Circuit City was the #2 store, behind only the #1 Best Buy.

As a final note, it is an incredibly sad time for the store's employees. Since, the first day of liquidations, most of the employees at the corporate office are to consider their termination and are therefore relieved of their duties immediately. Sure, a few employees will still be able to work while the liquidation is going on, but there is the inevitable end to such a sale with no re-stocking. The good thing? Since they are required to give the employees their 60-day notice of their termination, Circuit City has stated that the employees will continue to receive their pay and benefits until the end of 60-day period, whether or not they have been dismissed from work.

Guest's picture
EN

My store had like 50 people in line although the discounts were only 20%. :/

Guest's picture
cgj

last day
saw scores of employees bring their carts of stuff from rear of store -- one employee had a canon 5d which had mysteriously disappeared from the camera section weeks prior :) and he had a bunch of other dvds and games -- his total bill -- a whopping $57.97 (thaat was a $3000 slr) -- so there was deals to be had especially for employees -- consider it severance pay:) farewell cc -- ill miss ya