Vancouver's Shoes.com shuts down operations
Vancouver e-commerce company Shoes.com Technologies Inc. shut down operations effective Friday, and will work with its lenders to liquidate its assets and assign some of its companies to bankruptcy. The company took its websites offline and said it had closed its two stores in Vancouver and Toronto.
It’s an abrupt end for a company that was once touted as an IPO hopeful, as chairman and CEO Roger Hardy hoped to repeat the success of his previous e-commerce company – online eye wear merchant Coastal Contacts – which he sold in 2014 to Essilor International for $430-million. Shoes.com had previously said it brought in more than $200-million in revenue two years ago and had hopes to reach $1-billion by 2020. Mr. Hardy did not return messages Friday.
Shoes.com’s demise is the latest in a string of e-commerce disappointments, as companies including Canada’s Shop.ca and Beyond the Rack and U.S. retailers One Kings Lane and Hayneedle either filed for creditor protection or sold for a fraction of their former value. At the same time, many other e-commerce merchants continue to thrive, as evidenced by the strong growth of Ottawa-based online retail management platform Shopify.com and last year’s sale by upstart Dollar Shave Club to Unilever for $1-billion. E-commerce sales are expected to expand well ahead of overall retail sales in Canada and internationally through the end of this decade, according to eMarketer.
Doug Stephens, founder of consultancy Retail Prophet, said the company suffered from having too few managers from the fashion industry and too many from the technology sector. And customer service “wasn’t where it needed to be to give online customers the level of confidence necessary – especially in such a tricky category ...”