SACRAMENTO, CA - What began 60 years ago as a humble television store in Richmond, Virginia ended Sunday as Circuit City closed its doors for good - its 567 remaining U.S. stores to be left broom clean and vacant.
For the last month and a half, a group of four liquidators have conducted going-out-of-business sales for what was the nation's second-largest consumer electronics retailer, selling its remaining $1.7 billion worth of inventory weeks sooner than expected.
In its wake Richmond-based Circuit City Stores Inc. will leave more than 18 million square feet of vacant space in a faltering real estate market. And more than 34,000 employees, some who worked through the liquidation announced in January, will be jobless. Shareholders will likely get nothing and creditors may receive far less than what they are owed.
At the Circuit City store on Arden Way in Sacramento, customers picked through the final remains of the outlet Sunday before the store closed for the last time at 8 p.m.
In addition to a photo printer, shopper Gustavo Maciel walked out of the store the proud owner of a plastic Circuit City basket.
"I bought the basket. They wouldn't sell me the building," Maciel said with a laugh.
Circuit City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November with hopes of emerging as a stronger company able to compete in the ever-expanding marketplace; shedding its $2.32 billion in debt and getting out of older real estate.
Unable to work out a sale or secure new financing, the company will instead spend its remaining days tallying money from the sale of its assets, breaking or assigning its leases and paying off its growing list of creditors.
Circuit City owes nearly $625 million to its 30 largest unsecured creditors - mostly vendors who supplied the DVDs, flat-screen TVs and headphones on Circuit City shelves. They must wait to be paid until secured creditors such as bank lenders are satisfied.
News10/KXTV and The Associated Press