Circuit City to shut down
Bankrupt electronics retailer Circuit City said Friday it will close its remaining 567 U.S. stores and sell all its merchandise.
The company said it has 34,000 employees.
“We are extremely disappointed by this outcome,” James Marcum, acting CEO for Circuit City, said in a statement. “We were unable to reach an agreement with our creditors and lenders to structure a going-concern transaction in the limited timeframe available, and so this is the only possible path for our company.”
In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which a judge approved late Friday, Circuit City – the No. 2 electronics retailer after Best Buy) — said it had reached an agreement with four companies to start the liquidation process.
The company said the sale would begin Saturday and run until March 31, pending court approval.
The retailer’s Web site and call center will cease to operate after Jan. 18.
Circuit City said employees will receive 60 days’ notice of the termination.
Employees who are laid off earlier will get pay and benefits for the 60-day period beginning Friday, the retailer said.
Those who remain with the company to assist with the liquidation, will receive pay and benefits.
Circuit City also operates about 765 retail stores and dealer outlets in Canada. The company said its Canadian operations, which employ 3,000 workers, will continue to operate.
The company said it will redeem its gift cards through the liquidation sale, but the cards will have no value once the stores are closed.
Walmart offers $9 smoking cessation kits
Walmart announced this week that as part of its Operation Main Street initiative, it will offer a smoking cessation prescription starter pack for $9. According to Walmart the $9 starter pack of bupropion ER 150mg is the lowest priced on the market and the generic equivalent of Zyban. The starter pack is available at Walmart, Neighborhood Market and Sam’s Club pharmacies in a 17-tablet, 10-day supply.
“Times are tight right now, and Walmart is committed to helping our customers maintain their healthy lifestyles in both good economic times and bad,” said Dr. John Agwunobi, Walmart SVP and president of health and wellness. “With our affordable smoking cessation offerings, we’re hopeful that smokers who are committed to quitting will be able to get the tools they need to stop smoking and still be able to afford everyday household items so they can live better.”
The health community applauded Walmart for its efforts in helping smokers find affordable ways to quit.
“The public health community has long recognized that the cost of either cigarettes or smoking cessation medications has served as a determining factor for smokers to continue smoking or finally to decide to quit,” said Cheryl Healton, Dr. P.H., president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation. “This move by Walmart to provide science-based smoking cessation therapies that smokers can more easily afford is a huge step forward in helping millions of smokers finally quit for good. We applaud Walmart and hope other retailers will follow their example. It can only result in longer, healthier lives.”
Steinhafel named chairman of Target
MINNEAPOLIS Target president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel, will assume the additional role of chairman of the board, effective Feb. 1. Steinhafel succeeds Bob Ulrich, who will retire from the board, as previously announced, at the end of the 2008 fiscal year. The board also announced that Ulrich will be designated chairman emeritus in recognition of his many significant contributions.
Steinhafel joined Target in 1979 and served in a variety of merchandising positions until being named EVP of merchandising in 1994. He was promoted to president of Target in 1999 and became a member of the board of directors in 2007. Steinhafel succeeded Ulrich as CEO of Target in May 2008.