Economic woes hit electronic retailers

Circuit City is considering shutting about 150 stores to avoid bankruptcy, says a report in today's Wall Street Journal. The Richmond, Va.-based electronics chain has been struggling, losing $404 million in its most recent quarter. Circuit City has 714 stores in the U.S., and another 772 in Canada.
Circuit City's problems aren't entirely linked to the recent economic malaise. The company has battled everything from increased competition online to Wal-Mart's beefed up electronics department.
But it's not a great sign for a robust holiday shopping season, which most retailers rely on to turn a profit for the year. Electronic sales were flat during back-to-school, the other big buying season, says researcher NPD.
Another worrisome sign: rival Best Buy's recent announcement that same-store sales fell 2% in September.
But there still is hope that the holidays may at least be decent. Electronics are the No. 5 most desired type of gift this year, after apparel, toys, movies and books, says NPD. By Michelle KesslerPhoto: The Circuit City store in East Palo Alto, Calif. (Paul Sakuma/AP)

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