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The corpse of Circuit City will rise again on February 15

Circuit City

Circuit City is coming back, and this time, the license holders propping up the ancient big-box retail chain say they mean it.

Following a tease of a CES announcement, current company CEO Ronny Shmoel confirmed on Monday that something called Circuit City will arrive as “a new, more personalized online shopping experience” starting February 15. The announcement event, which was reported by tech-business outlet Twice, included promises of AI-driven recommendations fueled by IBM’s Watson platform, plus unexplained “augmented reality” and “search by photo” features.

Curiously, Shmoel also promised “real-time tech support via video chat,” but it’s unclear whether this feature will include two-way video feeds—and, thus, whether Circuit City is prepared for a deluge of Chatroulette-caliber video surprises from trolls.

This online Circuit City rebirth may very well actually come to exist, as Shmoel claims that the company has put together a fully fledged inventory and distribution system, with a mix of known electronics brand names and “tier-two and tier-three” names (Shamsung? Panafauxnoic?). The same cannot be said for its CES tease of eventual brick-and-mortar showrooms in the neighborhood of 8,000-10,000 square feet, however. Shmoel already backtracked on similar showroom promises in 2016, and his CES pronouncement of future shops included no hard confirmations of locations or dates. But for anybody who dares to dream, Circuit City’s showroom design partner, Taylored Group, released a concept render of its store vision which looks like a Radio Shack as if rendered in a Taiwanese hot-take news video.

Shmoel had previously purchased the rights to Circuit City from Systemax in 2015, after that company tried and failed to operate Circuit City as part of its TigerDirect sales platform. This followed Circuit City’s original spin down the drain in 2008 as the brand struggled to operate hundreds of retail shops and eventually filed for bankruptcy.

With this news in mind, we’re keeping an eye on Radio Shack’s own shambling corpse. That company currently lives as a license granted to one of the former company’s creditors when nobody else bid more for the rights in 2017.

This article was reblogged from Ars Technica.

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