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Circuit City To Begin Auctioning Stores And Brand

2/13/2009 04:24:00 PM Eastern

Update! Richmond, Va. — A federal bankruptcy court here approved Circuit City’s request to sell or break its leases on nearly 600 properties, including stores, distribution centers and corporate offices.

Auctions, to be handled by Gordon Brothers’ DJM Realty division, could begin as soon as Feb. 26 on stores slated to close by the end of the month, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Gordon Brothers, in a joint venture with Hilco Trading, will also bid on Circuit City’s brand name and the domain name CircuitCity.com. The partners will make a stalking horse bid on the intellectual properties, after which other bidders will have an opportunity to top the offer in an open auction, Crain’s Business reported.

Gordon and Hilco conducted the first round of Circuit City liquidation sales at 154 stores last fall, and were members of the consortium that acquired The Sharper Image in a bankruptcy auction earlier last year.

The latest store closures will begin a month ahead of the liquidation’s planned March 31 cut-off,  as the fire sales are proceeding “much faster and better than originally thought,” Circuit City lawyer Gregg Galardi told the court, AP reported. The remainder of the stores and properties will be auctioned off on March 10.

Circuit City was unable to find any takers for the leases to the original 154 liquidated stores. It attributed the failed auction, held after its bankruptcy filing in November, to the weak economy.

The court also granted Circuit City permission to sell defective or damaged merchandise via online auctions or through a third party, and to sell its two corporate jets: a 2001 Learjet 45 for $4.4 million and a 1996 Hawker 800XP for $4.5 million, according to the reports.