The past year and a half has been one nightmare after another for one of the nation’s largest electronics retailers.

From incompetent CEO’s, missed sale opportunities, to a struggling economy, Circuit City now finds itself in a position where their prospects for staying afloat seem bleak at best.

In the last year alone, Circuit City has seen its shares drop from a 52-week high of $8.53 to a dismal 52-week low of $0.33.

Circuit City 52-week chart, October 21, 2007 - October 21, 2008 (via BigCharts.com)

Image: Circuit City 52-week chart, October 21, 2007 - October 21, 2008 (via BigCharts.com)

While the entire retail sector has taken a beating over the last year, Circuit City has been by far the worst performer.

Even with $11billion in revenues, Circuit City hasn’t been able to turn a profit in a long time. Despite the lack of profits, the company has made a variety of proposals over the last year, including some grandiose in nature, like opening more stores, while ignoring the fact that their current, more established stores are showing to be a burden on the company.

Luckily, after seeing the shares take a nearly 90% free fall over this past year, the company has started to come to its senses and focus on the real problems facing the company.

The first problem that the company needed to address was their overpaid and underperforming CEO, Philip Schoonover. Luckily Schoonover avoided the boardroom ouster and offered his resignation on September 22nd.

It was under the leadership of Schoonover that the company went into a literal free fall, neglecting to take advantage of sale and potential infusion opportunities from activist investors like Mark Wattles. With Schoonover’s rejection of Wattles proposal, the light at the end of the tunnel started to appear more like a freight train heading directly at the companies share holders.

With Schoonover finally gone, the company now finds itself in panic mode, trying to salvage as much as they can, and hopefully break even in the next year or two, if they can avoid bankruptcy.

With board member James Marcum as acting CEO, the company is finally positioning itself to make some fixes.

Instead of talking about opening more stores, it was announced that Circuit City might close 150 stores, a move that could prevent them from becoming the next Tweeter, Inc (though they seem to be reading the same playbook).

This is by no means a bad move for the company and might very well be their last ditch effort of trying to make this beat-up company stay afloat.

As the holiday season nears, this is Circuit City’s last opportunity to re-brand themselves as a company that people trust, and more importantly one that they want to utilize.

If the company is unsuccessful this holiday season, I am confident that this will be the end of the road for the company and bankruptcy might be the only viable option. However, this also creates a great opportunity for activist investors like Mark Wattles and Carl Ichan to get a beat up company, its inventory and real estate at a great price.

Maybe BBI will return with its Carl Ichan backed offer discussed here:

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google