Going Out Of Business: Circuit City

The liquidation sale at Circuit City continues this week. The company is closing 567 stores and laying off more than 30,000 workers. Over the weekend, shoppers lined up looking for good deals, but found the bargains weren't quite as good as what they expected.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

In this country, the recession has shoppers hunting for huge discounts. This weekend, many lined up outside Circuit City, where a liquidation sale continues this week. The company is closing its 567 stores and laying off more than 30,000 people, yet the bargains were not quite as good as many shoppers expected, as Libby Lewis reports.

LIBBY LEWIS: There's a sea of people circulating at a Circuit City store in Rockville, Maryland. The line at checkout is 20 deep. But much of what people are buying is smaller stuff, not flat-panel TVs or laptop computers. Jim and Amy Marin(ph) of Rockville are in the TV section. They're trying to talk over the cacophony of Sonys and Toshibas surrounding them.

Ms. AMY MARIN: Size is a problem. We need something a little bit bigger, but I don't want to spend that much. But the quality is fabulous.

LEWIS: The Marins are like a lot of Americans - they can't remember the last time they were in a Circuit City. That's one reason why the second largest electronics retailer is going out of business. Amy Marin says she's been buying electronics at Target, where she doesn't expect a lot of help, just low prices.

Ms. MARIN: Here, I expect to be able to find somebody that knows what they're talking about. And it's hard to find somebody here at all, let alone somebody that knows what they're talking about.

LEWIS: Ron Collins(ph) and his wife found a copier, but didn't think it was much of a deal.

Mr. RON COLLINS: You take away price and expertise, why would anybody come here? You know, Darwinian principle: It deserves to die.

LEWIS: Azin Kahn(ph), on the other hand, is sorry Circuit City is going out of business. He found good service on warranties and repairs, but he's leaving empty-handed.

Mr. AZIN KAHN: It's still, like, 10 percent off of TVs? I know I'm probably going to get it somewhere else a little bit cheaper.

LEWIS: He was heading to Best Buy. For NPR News, I'm Libby Lewis.

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