Short-cirtuit: Home electronics store closing



Circuit City, ridding itself of unprofitable stores, will close the one in Federal Way and 18 other locations around the country by the end of this month.

Officials of the home electronics retailer said the moves are an attempt to improve its overall financial performance.

Nineteen full-time and 17 part-time employees at the Federal Way store, which is in the Campus Square commercial center near the State Route 18-Interstate 5 junction and Enchanted Parkway, will be affected.

The pending closures nationally, including the Federal Way store’s shutdown scheduled for Feb. 22, became public Feb. 9. “Out of respect for our employees’ privacy,” Circuit City won’t disclose when the Federal Way workers were notified, said Kathy Hess, a spokeswoman at the company’s corporate headquarters in Greensboro, N.C.

Employees who aren’t placed in jobs at remaining Circuit City stores will receive severance pay, Hess said.

Eleven other stores, including one in Tacoma and eight in the Seattle area, will remain open.

Since last summer, Federal Way stores of three other major retail chains –– REI, Gottschalks, Mervyn’s and KB Toys –– have closed. All but REI were at SeaTac Mall.

The market areas of the 19 Circuit City “superstores” targeted for closure “can no longer support” them, despite their combined $151 million in revenue last year, said W. Alan McCollough, chairman of Circuit City Stores Inc.

Closing them will enable the company “to better focus attention on improving the performance of the other 600 stores” nationally, he added.

Circuit City expects the closures will cost the company approximately $35 million in penalties for lease termination and other expenses.

Other Circuit City stores that are closing are in California (Los Angeles), Minnesota (Brooklyn Center), Missouri (Cape Girardeau), Florida (Cutler Ridge and Delray Beach), Georgia (Decatur), Ohio (Fairlawn, Salem and Trotwood), Arkansas (Fort Smith), Texas (Houston and Odessa), Indiana (Indianapolis and Kokomo), Virginia (Martinsville), Illinois (Niles and Northbrook), Nebraska (Omaha) and Kansas (Topeka).

At the same time those stores are closing, Circuit City is planning to relocate 18 stores and open as many as 70 new ones in the current fiscal year.

The Wards retail store, which opened in 1949 in Richmond, Va., became Circuit City in 1984.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565,

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