January 31, 2008, 12:00 AM

As it tops $1 billion in online sales, Circuit City hires new multi-channel talent

Circuit City is operating with new senior management for its online channel as its web sales approach $1.4 billion for the fiscal year ending Feb. 28, as online sales grow to 13% of total sales. Its strategy going forward to be to emphasize interactivity with online shoppers, such as through product videos.

As it rides what president, chairman and CEO Philip Schoonover calls a “massive shift” in how consumers shop across retail channels, Circuit City Stores Inc. expects to do $1.4 billion in online sales, or 13% of total sales, for its current fiscal year that runs through the end of this month, Schoonover says.

Multi-channel shopping activity, meanwhile, is rising in several distinct areas, he adds. For example, more than half of the retailer’s online customers sometimes pick up products at a Circuit City store, up from 25% a year ago.

And when viewing online content, more consumers don’t want to settle for traditional static images. “Video is the way people want to receive content,” Schoonover says. “Millenials especially want to see in videos what they’re buying.”

Going forward, Circuit City is hoping growth in multi-channel retailing will help it climb out of poor financial performance, which resulted in a net loss of $325.7 million on $8.1 billion in total sales for the third quarter ended November 30, 2007, and has deployed a new multi-channel management team.

The retailer has promoted Brian S. Bradley to senior vice president, multi-channel, with responsibility for the company’s direct-to-consumer business, including its web site and call center. The company has also announced the departure of George D. “Danny” Clark, who had been executive vice president, multi-channel sales.

Bradley joined the company in January 2005 as steward of innovation. In April 2006 he was promoted to vice president, strategy and innovation. Before joining Circuit City he worked at Capital One Financial Corp. and before that at consultants McKinsey & Co.

The company has also named John J. Kelly, senior vice president, merchandising. Kelly joined the company in May 2005 as senior vice president, general merchandise manager.

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