Company Overview Visit circuitcity.com website
Founded in 1949 by Samuel Wurtzel as Wards Company, Circuit City changed its location several times before settling into what would become their main headquarters in Richmond, Virginia in 1958. This is also the year they started working on their limited warranties which would later become an important product strategy for them. In 1984, Sam Wurtz died leaving his son Alan to run the company who soon rebranded from Wards to Circuit City Incorporated. In 1991 he left his father’s legacy behind by launching on of the first ever pre-paid cellular service in the US, allowing customers to buy their phone before they even sign up for a contract. This way it was more likely that they would stick to their contracts and stay with Circuit City for longer periods of time.
The company grew quickly, but not without its challenges. After successfully starting out in Virginia, Circuit City expanded into nine other states within just two years before facing some obstacles in the form of lawsuits about sexual discrimination which led to drastic changes made in upper management. While Alan Wurtzel himself stepped down from his position as CEO, he remained president until 1997 when he ultimately left the company completely after court cases were resolved.
As early as 2002 signs started showing that the company was struggling as a result of competition from online retailers and new trends in customer behavior. Toward the beginning of 2009, sales were down by 15% as a direct result of the economic crisis that had hit everyone hard. In an attempt to recover from their losses, Circuit City came out with a new logo design and tried to focus more on adding services such as data transfer and web hosting.
In May of 2009, Circuit City announced it would be closing 155 stores due to a need for “significant change” even though they claimed they were still dedicated to making customers life easier by offering them access to all kinds of electronics through their stores. The fact that they opened up kiosks inside other however contradicted this statement, leading to a complete shut down before the end of that year.