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RICHMOND, VA-Circuit City Stores Inc. has made a major move in its national renewal strategy with the tapping of Millennium Retail Partners LLC to head up real estate activity for its store revitalization project. Millennium will work side-by-side with Circuit City’s in-house real estate team. The goal is to open 50 new stores–either in leased spaces or purchased properties–with a more customer-friendly layout in 2004.

“The stores we’re building have a footprint of approximately 34,000 sf, not including parking,” a Circuit City spokesman tells GlobeSt.com. “The interior space is anywhere from 22,000 to 25,000 sf. We’ve managed to shrink down the warehouse and put more products out on the floor. So, inside that footprint, we have a much larger store.”

The changes are part of a game plan the company began focusing on last year. As Circuit City president and CEO W. Alan McCollough explains in the company’s 2002 annual report, “fiscal 2002 continued a transition that has included our exit from the appliance category, and tests aimed at developing a store environment that offers the best shopping experience in our product categories.”

With Millennium on board, the rejuvenation of stores across the country has begun. Millennium has offices in Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans, and Richmond. Its principals include Gayle Aertker, formerly a vice president of real estate for Toys R Us and Price-Costco, and Ben Cummings who was a vice president of real estate for Circuit City Stores Inc., and for Circuit City’s CarMax Auto Superstores Inc.

Also on the team is Bryan Fields, who was a senior vice president of real estate for the Home Depot, and Mark Keschl, a one-time senior vice president of real estate for Office Max Inc.

Circuit City’s new store project will carry on beyond 2004, since the company expects to continue pursuing its 50 stores per-year goal until the entire national store revitalization project is complete.

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