Angry consumers are boycotting Circuit City stores across the country:
Gary Cleek, 57, of Kingsport, Tenn., said the firings were enough to make him stop shopping at Circuit City. "I don't view someone who works for a living as a commodity."Neither do labor unions who are also getting involved by staging informational pickets, and one AFL-CIO local is even holding a protest rally at a Circuit City store in Roseville, Illinois today.
What about profits? Did the firings help Circuit City's bottom line? Nope, the company recently reported it may have a loss of $80-90 million before taxes after sales fell "substantially below-plan," and analysts say the job cuts are backfiring.
[...] Analysts said Circuit City had cast off some of its most experienced and successful people and was losing business to competitors who have better-trained employees.Television sales were especially disappointing, which could also be a result of softening consumer spending and end up hurting other retailers like Best Buy, but analysts believe Circuit City's problems are for the most part a direct result of dumping their experienced workers.
"I think even though sales were soft in March, this is clearly why April sales were worse. They were replaced with less knowledgeable associates," said Tim Allen, an analyst with Jefferies & Co.
[...] Baker also said Circuit City's situation is mostly a result of its loss of informed workers. Best Buy "will fare better because of market share gains driven by weakening customer service at Circuit City," he wrote. "We believe that Circuit City's store labor change . . . likely has had a worse than expected impact on Circuit City's service levels and has enabled [Best Buy] to take share."Investors should be furious with Circuit City's CEO Philip Schoonover who was paid $8.52 million in fiscal 2006. You would think a highly paid, educated man would know better than to cut his experienced sales staff. As Samuel Culbert, professor of human resources and organization at the University of California at Los Angeles said, "There is nothing more important than relationships in commerce."
Maybe the only relationship Schoonover is concerned about is the one between him and the board of directors. What does he care if consumers take their business to a store with better customer service - he already made his money.