Circuit City plots comeback with website relaunch, smaller stores

Electronics retailer Circuit City is plotting a comeback, one decade after it declared bankruptcy and ceased operations.

Circuit City CEO Ronny Schmoel said the company will relaunch its e-commerce website on Feb. 15 and eventually roll out small-scale versions of its stores as kiosks, store in-stores and other experimental settings. Schmoel announced the business strategy at a press briefing at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Eventually, the revitalized company plans to open showroom-style stores as part of its brick-and-mortar retail strategy. Consumer electronics website Twice was first to report the announcement. Circuit City hasn’t had a brick-and-mortar store in operation since 2009.

Circuit City’s ecommerce site will serve as a key element of its new structure and will be enabled with IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence platform, Twice reported. The site will use features while search-by-photo for product listings and real-time tech support to boost customer experience.

Schmoel said the new Circuit City will sell items like computers and smart-home products, provide home installation and work with both large and small tech vendors. It’s unclear when Circuit City’s first showroom will be ready to open.

Once a major electronics retailer, Circuit City was one of many retail chains that saw sales collapse amid the rise of ecommerce operations like Amazon. The trend known as the “retail apocalypse” has worsened in recent years, as retail bankruptcies reached a six-year high in 2017.