Circuit City not bankrupt yet, mulls store closures


— 5:00 PM on October 20, 2008

Ten days ago, word got out that Circuit City could be on its way to bankruptcy. The Washington Post said the U.S. electronics store chain had lost a recommendation from a "firm that advises manufacturers on whether to ship goods to retailers," signaling it might have trouble paying vendors. The firm also faced a number of blows in recent months, including the departure of its CEO, Blockbuster's withdrawal from a takeover bid, and $239-million losses for its last fiscal quarter.

Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that Circuit City is considering a plan that would involve shutting "at least" 150 stores and cutting jobs. Circuit City sees the move as a potential alternative to filing for Chapter 11, the WSJ adds. Circuit City has also enlisted the services of a corporate law firm and a consulting firm to come up with a turnaround strategy. The law firm—Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP—reportedly walked Kmart through its 2002 brush with bankruptcy.

According to the WSJ, Circuit City is scrambling to prevent a bankruptcy filing before the holiday season in order to avoid damaging consumer confidence: "Customers might doubt the ability of a retailer involved in bankruptcy proceedings to provide warranties on products like laptop computers and flat-screen TVs."

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