Circuit City History Essay

988 words - 4 pages

Sam Wurtzel first created Circuit City, under the name of Wards Co., on September 13th 1949 in Richmond Virginia. Wurtzel was getting a haircut when he learned that the first commercial television station would be going on air in Richmond, which inspired him to open a store to sell television sets because he knew consumer interest in the new local broadcasts would only increase. In the next ten years this small company expanded itself by acquiring several television and appliance stores throughout the U.S., which included Richmond, Alabama, Washington, New York, and California. In 1960 Wards Co. also expanded its operations into licensed television departments within large department stores, which led the company to offer stocks to the public for the first time. By 1965, Wards had added various acquisitions to its existing portfolio, which included a discount department store that sold automotive and household supplies, home appliances, and clothing as well as a Delaware company that operated household and hardware sales in department stores around the Southeast. Not only did Wards grow increasingly through acquisition, it also grew because of its reputation and commitment to customer service by being one of the first companies to offer a service plan for its TV sets.
The company continued its rapid acquisition strategy through the beginning of the1970’s, but by 1974, Wards began to suffer adverse effects of this of rapid over diversification into such non-core business areas, such the automotive industry, and decided to withdraw itself from all other industries and focus only on consumer electronics and appliances. This led to “The Wards Loading Dock” pioneering venture, which was a forty thousand square foot warehouse in Richmond, Virginia that displayed and sold a vast selection of consumer electronics. This strategic decision led Wards to have competitive advantage against its competitors because of its low prices and services, which included home delivery and in-store repairs. Then in 1977, Wards broadened the selection of electronics in its discount audio equipment stores and transformed them into full-service electronics markets whilst changing the company name to “Circuit City” and expanding them across major cities such as New York. By the 1980’s the company ran one hundred outlets and held the largest market share in the consumer electronics industry. Because of this, Wurtzel decided to divest from its other operations that were not receiving as much revenues, and put these resources towards furthering Circuit City Superstore expansion. As the company’s growth and profits continued to rapidly increase because of the ongoing innovation of consumer electronics, Circuit City only continued to expand into new markets and locations nationwide. The company’s profits had tripled in only three years, driven heavily by consumer demand in VCRS and other television equipment.
By the 1990’s, however, the company had a new growing threat of...

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