Circuit City not bankrupt yet, mulls store closures

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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