Plans in place for old Circuit City sites: "hhgregg" announces expansion

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - We now know what will happen to at least some of the vacant Circuit City stores. For months, former Circuit City stores have remained vacant, but perhaps not for much longer, with the announcement of a new electronics dealer coming to town.

"hhgregg", based in Indianapolis, is moving in. The electronics and appliance dealer is in talks to renovate the former Circuit City stores at Short Pump Town Center, and White Oak Village. Plans are also in the works for at least one other site in Chesterfield.

"It's good news for consumers because with more competition we have better prices. And it's good news for people who are looking for jobs," said Chris Chmura, Chmura Electronics and Analytics.

Established in 1955, hhgregg's business has, until now, been primarily in the southeast along with Indiana and Ohio. In a statement, the company president said: "We have an extraordinary opportunity to gain market share by taking advantage of the current rental rates and excess availability in the real estate market."

But a local economist believes the company has more work to do...

"They certainly will have an uphill battle here in terms of their marketing and their name recognition. But consumers are always looking for good buys. And as long as they can be competitive, I think that they'll probably do well here," Chris said.

hhgregg plans to open up to 45 new stores within the next two years, though a spokesman would not say how many additional ones could be planned for the Richmond region. In any case - experts agree it's a show of good faith, and not just for retail.

"I would suspect that they see Richmond sort of on the leading edge of the housing market turning around.  Not necessarily tomorrow or next week, but sometime next year," said Chris.

While the company says all leases for its new stores are signed, specific opening dates are not yet finalized. But the company expects the stores to open sometime in its 2010 fiscal year.

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