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Inside Circuit City's Liquidation Sale

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Contrary to popular belief, most liquidation sales generally increase rather than decrease store prices. In fact, most of the times the vendors aren't even in charge of their own going-out-of-business sales. Instead, liquidators buy the merchant's stock, reset the prices to MSRP, and then begin slashing prices. It's been a week since Circuit City's liquidation sale started and we were wondering what kind of prices we'd find in-store, so we went to the Union Square Circuit City in New York City to find out what kind of deals, if any, we'd find.

Our findings, along with the lowest online prices we could find from reputable stores:

 

  HDTVs

 
Circuit City Liquidation Price
Lowest Price Online
Sony Bravia 40" 1080p LCD HDTV
(KDL-40XBR6)
$1,869.99
$1,530.36
@Buy.com
Samsung 120Hz 46" 1080p LCD HDTV
(LN-46A630)
$1,709.99
$1,349.98
@Amazon.com
LG 52" 1080p LCD HDTV
(52LG70)
$2,039.09
$1,799.99
@TigerDirect.com
Sharp 32" 1080p LCD HDTV
(LC-32D64U)
$679.99
$698
@6ave Electronics
Samsung 120Hz 40" 1080p LCD HDTV
(LN-40A630)
$1,274.99
$1,149
@BuyDig.com

 

  Home Theater

 
Circuit City Liquidation Price
Lowest Price Online
Panasonic 5.1 Blu-ray Home Theater
(SC-BT100)
$899.99
$562.12
via code "CAT6OFF"
@6ave Electronics
Toshiba Upconverting 1080p DVD Player
(XD-E500)
$89.99
$79.95
@BuyDig.com
@Amazon.com

 

  Cameras & Frames

 
Circuit City Liquidation Price
Lowest Price Online
Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS 10MP
Digital Camera
$179.99
$154
@Amazon.com
@newegg.com
Kodak EasyShare 10" Digital Frame
(M1020)
$183.99
$149.99
@Sears

 

From cameras to TVs, every item we saw at the store was marked as 10% to 40% off. However, of all the items we looked at, only one (the 32" Sharp LCD) was cheaper at Circuit City than it was online. Even so, we've seen other Sharp TVs with similar specs for less.

After our initial disappointment, we wondered if smaller items, like Blu-ray movies and memory cards, were better priced. Unfortunately, they weren't. Most Blu-ray movies started at $22.99 while a 4GB SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash Card went for $45 (that same card costs $26.05 + $7 s&h at Buy.com.)

The same applied to gaming. Activision's Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock Bundle with Guitar for Xbox 360 sold for $55.99 at Circuit City. Online we found it for $50 (at Toys "R" Us.) Open box items were similarly overpriced. We found an open box Sony Bravia 120Hz 46" 1080p LCD HDTV, model no. KDL-46XBR6, for $2,519.97. Online we found a new model for $1,899.95 with free shipping (at B&H Photo-Video.) It's worth noting that open box items purchased at Circuit City could not be returned under any circumstances. Dozens of posters throughout the store made this clear.

Conclusion

As expected, Circuit City's liquidation sale was atrocious. Even though the store had a Black Friday vibe, there were no sales to be found. But we were surprised to find that the stores beating Circuit City aren't just online-only stores like Amazon and Buy.com. Even Toys "R" Us and Sears undercut Circuit City. It bears repeating: Liquidation sales aren't synonymous with discounts, and consumers should remember that as more merchants file for bankruptcy.

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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