Bed Bath & Beyond announced Tuesday it has acquired home goods and furniture flash sales retailer One Kings Lane in an all-cash deal.
The purchase price was not disclosed and "was not material," according to Bed Bath & Beyond's announcement. As Fortune’s Dan Primark speculated on Twitter, considering Bed Bath and Beyond has less than $600 million cash on hand, that makes the price likely a shadow of the nearly $1 billion valuation One Kings Lane approached a few years ago.
The news—like Hudson’s Bay Co.’s recent purchase of Gilt Groupe (once valued at $1.1 billion) for $250 million—is further evidence of the swift rise and fall of the flash sales model.
Flash sales—the online discount sales model that seemed so promising years ago as the economy was exiting its worst recession in years—are no longer viewed as retail’s latest breakthrough innovation. While flash retailer had initial success as the Great Recession ebbed, their long fulfillment times, Draconian return policies and increasingly limited merchandise have worked against many of them in recent years.
Nordstrom and Hudson’s Bay’s Saks Fifth Avenue (which absorbed Gilt into its operations) are still running their flash sales sites, however, and shopping-channel retail company QVC acquired Zulily (another flash-sales site that at one point seemed destined for runaway growth) in 2015 with an emphasis on “discovery.”
That aspect—a portal for discovery—and the flash sales model's utility as a channel that helps move excess inventory in a well-targeted way could yet make the concept attractive to other retailers, even if it isn’t strong enough to stand alone, RSR Research analyst Nikki Baird told Retail Dive earlier this year.
“Retail stores will always risk overbuying than selling out too quickly,” Baird said. “So there’s always going to be some room. I think what might be really interesting to look at is how [flash sales sites] are competing more with T.J. Maxx or Ross stores and how, because T.J. Maxx and Ross have been very anti-e-commerce, maybe they’re going to have to up their game.”
Bed Bath & Beyond acquired artisanal home goods e-retailer Of a Kind in mid-2015. Bed Bath & Beyond also owns brands Christmas Tree Shops, buybuy BABY and Cost Plus World Market.