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How Long Will A Legendary Chain’s Brand Last Online? In Circuit City’s Case, Only Three Years

Written by Frank Hayes
November 7th, 2012

So much for the enduring power of big-box brands. On Halloween (Oct. 31), the owner of Circuit City and CompUSA’s brands decided to kill the online remnants of

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the former chains, redirecting traffic to TigerDirect.com. Systemax bought CompUSA’s Web site and 16 stores in 2008 for $30 million, picked up Circuit City’s intellectual property and some stores in 2009 for $14 million, and then relaunched the E-Commerce sites. Now Systemax will spend even more money to bury those brands.

It’s not clear how much the brand-kill decision may have been influenced by terms of the Circuit City brand acquisition, which required Systemax to pay a certain percentage of all revenue generated under the Circuit City name. Still, both these names were legendary just a few years ago, and Systemax paid millions for the names. Less than five years later, they’re apparently no longer worth the trouble. It looks like the half-life of big-chain brands is shrinking fast. After all, when was the last time you thought about Borders? And that was just a year ago.


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