August 16, 2006, 12:00 AM

Circuit City expects 2006 web sales to top $1 billion

A strong buy-online/pickup-in-store program and other factors will help Circuit City join the $1 billion web sales club this year, says CEO Phil Schoonover. The company also says more than 60% of merchandise sold online is picked up at a local store.

Circuit City is on track to achieve $1 billion in online sales in 2006.

The multi-channel retailer also expects a big upcoming shift from store sales to the web in the personal computer and consumer electronics space to spur e-commerce growth. “Industry growth in web sales, plus a shift from retail to the web, is estimated to be a $17 billion transfer over the next five years and we’re projecting $1 billion in sales through our web site this year,” Circuit City president and CEO Phil Schoonover told Wall Street analysts on a recent earnings call. “We’re using the web and direct marketing to drive profitable customer traffic to our stores. This strategy is working and creating more opportunity for Circuit City while leading the growing consumer trend of shopping online and picking up in the store.”

Circuit City, No. 17 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites , credits its new 24/24 in-store pickup guarantee as a key reason e-commerce sales are growing. Launched last year, 24/24 guarantees customers that items ordered online will be ready for in-store pickup in 24 minutes or they receive a $24 gift card. Circuit City highlighted the service in its ad campaign during the fourth quarter as a way to promote multi-channel shopping. Today almost 60% of purchases online are now picked up by customers at a nearby store.

“We are excited by the growth of Xpickor and its ability to drive traffic to our stores,” Circuit City executive vice president and president of retail stores Danny Clark told stock analysts. “Our stores have also begun to realize the benefits of extended assortments available on CircuitCity.com. As an example, our typical store carries 50 laptops. Our extended assortment online takes us to 84. This allows us to further meet our consumers’ needs while optimizing our inventory.”

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