Circuit City's Smoking New Pet

If you can't beat the folks donning blue shirts and khaki slacks, you may as well join them. Just as Circuit City (NYSE: CC  ) has followed the lead of Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) in scrapping pushy, commission-based clerks, it is now looking to duplicate the success that Best Buy has had with its Geek Squad team of mobile computing experts.

Circuit City's launch of its firedog service may seem like a shameless rip-off of the proven Best Buy subsidiary. It offers pretty much the same list of services, spanning everything from data backups to software installation to setting up home wireless networks. Both services pitch in-home convenience, yet also offer cheaper in-store and online assistance. Circuit City is simply replacing the tie-donning nerd image at Geek Squad for an edgier logo. It feels more like an energy drink or a Dalmatian adoption service than a fleet of trained, multitalented techies.

So what? Does a retailer have to be original? Circuit City has already executed a pretty flawless turnaround in its flagship consumer-electronics chain. Circuit City is also the same company that brought us CarMax (NYSE: KMX  ) when it brought together key executives to come up with a used-car concept with wheels. Now it's tapping a booming market, as consumers embrace home computing networks with increasing zeal. This is the beginning of a major trend in convergence, and it's better to see Circuit City following early than never catching on.

Circuit City's renaissance has proven that every dog truly can have its day. Apparently, every firedog can have its day, too.

For more on what's happening at electronics retailers, check out:

Best Buy is aMotley Fool Stock Advisorrecommendation. CarMax is an Inside Valuenewsletter selection. Try out these or any of our other Foolish newsletters for yourself, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz prefers shopping at Best Buy to Circuit City, though he remains a fan of Best Buy blue and Circuit City red. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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