Canadian e-commerce footwear retailer Shoes.com on Friday said it had shuttered its operations, including its websites Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com and ShoeME.ca, as well as its two brick-and-mortar stores in Vancouver and Toronto. The company did not immediately return a request for comment from Retail Dive.
The company is working with its secured lenders to determine the process to liquidate assets and it currently intends to assign some or all of the group companies into bankruptcy, according to a press release.
The company's 200 or so employees were reportedly also notified of the decision on Friday, and just a small group is staying on as the company winds down its operations, Business Vancouver reports.
Shoes.com had its day in the e-commerce sun: In 2015, first quarter sales were up 89% year over year and a $45 million funding round had sparked rumors of an initial public offering for later that year. But with venture capital zeal cooling off and the limits of e-commerce coming into focus, the small enterprise’s prospects grew more dim.
CEO Richard Hardy once told Forbes that his company wasn’t really competing against online footwear giant Zappos, yet competition from that Amazon-owned e-commerce juggernaut was likely a major factor in his company’s demise.
Amazon's footwear and apparel efforts extend far beyond Zappos. As the largest online seller of apparel, its $16.3 billion apparel sales in 2015 exceeded those of the next five competitors — Macy’s, Nordstrom, Gap, Kohl’s and Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands — combined, according to an Internet Retailer report. Consumers purchased more than one million pairs of shoes on Amazon Prime Day in July, and when factoring in Amazon’s seven-brand private-label rollout earlier this year, it’s no wonder Cowen & Co. analysts expect the e-commerce company will dethrone Macy’s as the largest U.S. clothing retailer in 2017.
Earlier this month, E-commerce upstart Jet, through its parent Wal-Mart Stores Inc., acquired Boston-based online shoe retailer ShoeBuy from Barry Diller’s media and internet company InterActiveCorp., heating up the online footwear space even further.
Shoes.com, by contrast, did focus on the Canadian market, though that accounted for just a quarter of its revenue at most, Hardy said last year. “Given the delayed nature of e-commerce, the costs of fulfillment – for the retailer, as well as for the consumer – and the prevalence of physical stores, Shoes.com and Shoeme.ca were playing in an already crowded space,” retail analyst and Retail Insider Media owner Craig Patterson told Business in Vancouver magazine. “Without knowing their financials, I’m curious if there was an increase in costs associated with corporate expansion.”