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Farewell, Circuit City!
The consumer electronics superstore closed for good yesterday. The liquidators hired to clear out the 567 stores finished up the CSI work, taking pennies on the dollar for the merchandise still there.
I stopped by my local store on Saturday afternoon. Curiosity -- and a chance at a freakishly good deal -- got the better of me. I walked away empty-handed, as the cavernous electronics retailing empire was reduced to only a handful of bins by the entrance selling mostly obscure hip-hop CDs, orphaned remote controls, and store fixtures.
As an investor, I quickly took note of the items that weren't moving despite being marked down by 70% to 90%.
- There were two entire crates of Xpress-EZ receivers for Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI ) reception, marked down to $7. I took a pic to prove it.
- A running joke among those scouting Circuit City for celluloid was that you could find any DVD you wanted, as long as it was Hancock. Well, Will Smith can rest easy. The only DVD in the entire store was a copy of Step Up 2: The Streets. Unfortunately, there were more than a thousand CDs that couldn't find takers, even priced at $2 or less.
- No video games were available, but there were more than a few generic PC games, some antivirus software, and several copies of premium tax-filing programs. We're talking about the copies that cost $20 more because they include state filing. Did I mention that I'm in Florida, where most residents don't have to worry about that? I'll blame Circuit City's purchasing department for that lapse.
Naturally, Circuit City's shuttering of hundreds of stores over the weekend is an opportunity for its competitors. The primary beneficiary will be superstore rival Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) , but that's a foregone conclusion. Best Buy's stock may have shed 9% of its value since Circuit City unveiled its liquidation plans two months ago, but the S&P 500 has surrendered nearly 20% of its value in that time.
Keep an eye on Best Buy, of course, but also consider the smaller box concepts like RadioShack (NYSE: RSH ) and regional chains like Hastings Entertainment (Nasdaq: HAST ) , Conn's (Nasdaq: CONN ) , and hhgregg (NYSE: HGG ) . They will also collect their share of the Circuit City dollar.
One chain's doors sadly close. Other doors open. It is how Mr. Market works.
Other ways to see more than just the red in the Circuit City logo: