UPDATE 1-Circuit City liquidation sale ahead of schedule

NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The liquidators of Circuit City Stores Inc CCTYQ.PK said on Wednesday they were ahead of schedule in shedding the U.S. electronics retailer's $1.7 billion of inventory, and expect to complete the job in three to four weeks.

In a statement, the liquidators said more than $1 billion of inventory has been sold since going-out-of-business sales began on Jan. 17, and they are closing some of the chain’s 567 stores faster than expected.

They also said the stores still open contain all remaining merchandise because the company’s nine distribution centers have been emptied.

Circuit City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last Nov. 10, citing tighter credit terms from vendors and a loss of market share to Best Buy Co < BBY.N>, Wal-Mart Stores Inc WMT.N and other rivals. It announced plans to liquidate on Jan. 16, after failing to find a buyer. [ID:nN16280812]

The bankruptcy is one of the largest in the retail sector in the current U.S. recession.

Great American Group, Hudson City Partners, SB Capital Group LLC and Tiger Capital Group LLC are handling the liquidation, according to the statement. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Anshuman Daga)