Shoes.com is shutting down today

Troubled Vancouver e-commerce player was once a rising star

Vancouver-based online shoe retailer Shoes.com will halt operations today, January 27.

No advance notice was given and the company announced its plans in a January 27 news release.

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Shoes.com will take all three of its e-commerce properties — Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com and ShoeME.ca ­— offline. It will also close its two Shoes.com brick-and-mortar stores, which are in Vancouver and Toronto.

Employees were made aware of the decision early on January 27 and the company said that it will compensate the employees through the end of the month.

Shoes.com is working with its secured lenders to determine the process to liquidate assets and currently intends to assign some or all of the group companies into bankruptcy, the company said in the release.

A limited group of employees will stay on through the next few weeks as the Company winds down all operations.

Shoes.com has its roots in CEO Roger Hardy simultaneously buying Vancouver’s Shoeme.ca and Seattle’s OnlineShoes.com in mid-2014 and running the companies under one umbrella.

In December of that year, he bought Shoes.com, which was then the online division of St. Louis-based Brown Shoe Co. (NYSE:BWS).

Hardy then merged all the brands in 2015. 

His penchant for acquisitions was also on display when Shoes.com bought socks manufacturer Richer Poorer in late 2015.

Hardy did not immediately return a phone call from Business in Vancouver.

BIV reported on January 15 that recent moves by Walmart to compete with Amazon.com for online shoppers could make life more challenging for mid-sized e-commerce players, such as Vancouver’s Shoes.com.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) announced January 5 that it had shelled out US$70 million to buy Shoebuy.com – a move that many interpreted as a shot across the bow of Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN), which operates the shoe e-commerce division Zappos.com.

Zappos stopped shipping to Canada in 2011 but has a foothold on a sizable chunk of the U.S. online shoe market.

Walmart would not reveal how much Shoebuy generates in annual revenue, but the magazine Internet Retailer, in 2013, estimated its sales to be around US$315 million.

That is likely a similar size to Shoes.com, given that Hardy, told BIV in mid-2015 that his company had an annual revenue run rate of $320 million, and that he aimed for that rate to rise to $1 billion by 2020.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom   

For business news go to biv.com

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