Beautiful engraved specimen certificate from the Circuit City Stores, Inc
dated in 1996. This historic document was printed by United States Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman. This item has the printed signatures of the company's officers.
Circuit City (NYSE: CC) was a Fortune 200 company, and the third largest consumer electronics retailer in the United States with over $11 billion USD in sales, behind Best Buy and Wal-Mart. As of November 20, 2006, Circuit City's domestic segment operated 641 Superstores and 11 other locations in the U.S. Circuit City Superstores range in size from 15,000 to 45,000 square feet (1400 to 4000 m²) and offer a large selection of brand-name consumer electronics, personal computers and entertainment software. Circuit City's international segment operated through 950 retail stores and dealer outlets in Canada. Circuit City's locations in Canada are operated by InterTAN Canada Ltd which Circuit City acquired as of May 19, 2004. InterTAN runs The Source by Circuit City (formerly Radio Shack) chain in Canada (some of them now called La Source in Quebec) as well as THS Studio UpClose, Rogers Plus, Battery Plus and G-Wiz. In 1949, Samuel S. Wurtzel opened the first Wards Company retail store in Richmond, Virginia at 705 West Broad Street. By 1959 Wards operated four television and home appliance stores in Richmond. The company continued to grow and acquire more stores in other locations including Albany, New York; Mobile, Alabama; Washington DC; and Costa Mesa, California. In 1984, the company officially changed its name to Circuit City and became listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company began replacing retail stores with Circuit City Superstores. The first of these replacements occurred in Knoxville, Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina; and Hampton, Virginia. In 1990, Circuit City established the First North American National Bank to operate their private-label credit card. In 2002, Circuit City began offering a co-branded Visa credit card. They sold both these operations in 2004 to Bank One (Now Called Chase Bank). In 2003, Circuit City converted to a single hourly pay structure in all stores, eliminating commissioned sales. Many previously commissioned sales associates were offered new positions as hourly "product specialists", while 3900 salespeople were laid off, saving the company about $130 million a year. On February 11, 2005, a hedge fund headquartered in Boston, Highfields Capital, offered to takeover Circuit City for $17 a share, arguing that existing management had failed to maximize shareholder value. The offer was rejected by Circuit City's board on March 7, but doubled its own share buy back program. As of February 28, 2005, Circuit City held cash, cash equivalents, and short term investments of $1.00 billion USD . On June 27, 2006, it was announced that Philip J. Schoonover would succeed W. Alan McCollough as Chairman of the Board of Circuit City Stores, Inc. . In August 2006, at a Las Vegas convention, the name for Circuit City's upgraded in-store and in-home services crew was unveiled as "firedogSM." firedogSM provides in-home, in-store, and online PC Services, Home Theater Installations, and more. On February 8, 2007, Circuit City announced that it planned to close seven domestic Superstores, and a Kentucky distribution center to cut costs and improve its financial performance. News media reports also mention that 62 stores in Canada will close. A newly designed Circuit City store.In 2001, Circuit City introduced a new Superstore format which was much more in-line with the "Big Box Retailer" store design than its previous layouts. Newer stores have a brighter, more open sales floor aimed to more easily allow customers to browse the merchandise. The format allows for the company to put all products, except those that are too large for a customer to carry themselves, on the sales floor. In 2007, new store formats include a 30,000 square foot store aimed to eliminate previously under-utilized space. Approximately one third of new store openings will be in a 20,000 square foot store format to be utilized in smaller trade areas or as urban fill-in locations. Circuit City has also developed, in partnership with IBM, its first online virtual-reality store based completely within the 3D virtual world of Second Life. The store was opened in December, 2006 and houses 3D representations of actual product carried in stores. Online consumers can shop in the virtual store much like they would in a real store. The Second Life virtual store project was created as part of Circuit City's Multi-Channel initiative to branch into other areas of retailing in addition to a standard store environment. Domestic segment retail operations are overseen by the President of Retail Stores. Domestic retail operations are divided into 2 divisions. The 2 divisions are comprised of 10 regions which are under the supervision of Regional Vice Presidents. The 10 regions are comprised of 63 districts, which are overseen by District Managers who regularly visit stores to monitor store operations and meet with Store Management. The Source by Circuit City is currently overseen by Steven Pappas, President of InterTAN. Superstores are typically staffed with 40 to 80 full-time and part-time associates including: sales support personnel such as Customer Service Associates, Product Specialists (Roadshop, Entertainment, Computers and CD/DVD/Games), PC Technicians and Warehouse Associates; two or more Sales Managers; an Operations Manager, a Store director and Loss prevention. Few high volume stores are sometimes staffed with two Operations Managers and an Assistant Store Director.  Superstore associates at Circuit City locations are all paid on a non-commissioned basis. Major products and services include: Televisions, VCRs, DVD Players, and other home theater equipment. Digital cameras, camcorders, PDAs, cell phones and accessories. Personal computers, computer hardware and accessories. Mobile Audio and Video products and related accessories. Entertainment Software; including movie software, music software, game software, game hardware, and personal computer software. CDs, DVDs, gaming software and game consoles. Examples of services provided are narrowband, broadband, wireless telephone service through an exclusive partnership with Verizon Wireless (while also offering Virgin Mobile, foneGEAR and Amp'd Mobile), voice-over IP, extended warranty programs, satellite radio, computer repair, in-store pickup, car audio installation and in-home video installation. At the time of its fiscal year 2005 Annual report, Circuit City had 42,425 hourly and salaried associates working in the United States, and 3,521 associates in Canada. Comparatively, in its 2001 report, Circuit City operated the domestic segment with 53,302 associates. Associates in both the domestic and international segment receive frequent training through interactive E-learning courses hosted on the company intranet known as ccity.com. The E-learning courses are developed by DigitalThink. In addition to online courses, associate training tools include training workbooks, and management-driven in-store mentoring. Training includes developing selling skills, product knowledge with an emphasis on new technology, customer service, and store operations. Multi-Channel In the company's 2006 annual report, Circuit City lists Multi-Channel integration as one of its primary innovation initiatives. Circuit City defines multiple channels as the different methods that customers have of purchasing from the company; these methods include shopping in a store, ordering on the phone, on the web, or from a catalog. Circuit City places internet kiosks in its stores so if a product is out of stock, a customer can order it online. The company has also launched a test program that enables sales associates and shoppers in 10 stores in Boston and 10 in Florida to use wireless tablet PCs to study product specifications and compare products and prices from circuitcity.com as they walk through a store. According to Internet Retailer magazine, "The merchant also has been changing its entire business structure to break down barriers between channels by investing in new or more call centers, catalogs and web-selling technologies and changing the psychology of the company and its employees." Supply Chain Supply chain encompasses the organization and processes involved in all of the steps between obtaining product from a vendor and having the product in stock at locations for a customer to purchase. In Fiscal 2006, Circuit City made improvements within its supply chain organization to help identify and react to consumer demand in a timely manner as well reduce the time between buying from a vendor and display of the product at the point of sale. Circuit City has set up a subsidiary, Circuit City Global Sourcing, Ltd (with offices in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), to assist in obtaining inventory to sell. Most Products are shipped directly from manufacturers to the 9 Circuit City distribution centers. Enhancements in Fiscal 2007 will continue to be made in areas such as vendor relations, distribution and warehousing, inventory management, space planning, and supply process re-engineering. Due to the expansion of Circuit City stores in the 1970s-1990s, the company has accumulated a surplus of unused real estate with a presence in nearly every major market in the country. Although a typical retail location is approximately 30,000 square feet (2700 m²), they have numerous freestanding and in-line locations ranging from 2,000 to 50,000 square feet (180 to 4500 m²). They also have office, service and distribution surplus locations scattered across the country. Circuit City's Surplus Disposition Team is dedicated to exploring creative disposition strategies. During Circuit City's 2005 fiscal year (March 1, 2004 through February 28, 2005), the team successfully disposed of approximately 1.2 million square feet (108,000 m²) of vacant retail space. The Surplus Team utilizes facilitating assignments, third party sales, direct leases between landlords and prospective users and bringing together smaller users interested in demising big box vacancies in an effort to profit from unused real estate. In January, 2007, Circuit City's vice president for real estate announced plans on opening up 200-300 stores in the next two years, a large increase from the current trend of 10-12 stores a year. History from Wikipedia and OldCompanyResearch.com.
Specimen Certificates are actual certificates that have never been issued. They were usually kept by the printers in their permanent archives as their only example of a particular certificate. Sometimes you will see a hand stamp on the certificate that says "Do not remove from file". Specimens were also used to show prospective clients different types of certificate designs that were available. Specimen certificates are usually much scarcer than issued certificates. In fact, many times they are the only way to get a certificate for a particular company because the issued certificates were redeemed and destroyed. In a few instances, Specimen certificates we made for a company but were never used because a different design was chosen by the company. These certificates are normally stamped "Specimen" or they have small holes spelling the word specimen. Most of the time they don't have a serial number, or they have a serial number of 00000. This is an exciting sector of the hobby that grown in popularity over the past several years.