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Circuit City Drops T-Mobile, Launches In-Store Wireless Shops With Verizon

Verizon Wireless has begun installing company-operated in-store shops throughout more than 570 of Circuit City’s 600-plus locations.

The multiyear deal, which brings Circuit City its first ever supplier-operated store-within-a-store, also marks the phase out of T-Mobile service, leaving Verizon as the CE chain’s sole wireless carrier.

Under terms of the agreement, Verizon will provide staffing, inventory, point-of-sale systems and dedicated fixturing for the shops, which will occupy the floor space currently dedicated to wireless sales, generally located towards the front of Circuit City stores. The wireless shops will vary in size from location to location, and will be rolled out to all Circuit City stores within Verizon’s service footprint by November. Exterior store signage will indicate the presence of a wireless shop within.

A Circuit City spokesperson estimated that approximately 90 percent to 95 percent of the chain falls under the carrier’s coverage umbrella, and that the retailer is “working through” the issue of wireless service in the remaining markets.

The spokesperson noted that the move reflects growing consumer preference for carrier stores, and that the shops will provide enhanced services such as account look up, bill pay and address book rollover to new phones. Circuit City would not disclose financial details of the agreement, although the retailer will receive a commission on the shops’ sales, the spokesperson said.