Online toy retailer
became the latest e-commerce casualty Monday, firing its remaining 293 workers and saying it would wind down operations this spring.
Going to Zero
Some workers will remain on the job as long as through April 6, and eToys will continue to work with
to "explore a range of strategic alternatives," including a merger, asset sale or financial restructuring. But eToys left little hope that it would survive beyond March 31, when its remaining cash is due to run out, saying that it "does not believe that additional capital will be available to the company."
The company said it received a notice from
that its shares are in danger of being delisted because they have traded at under $1 for at least 30 consecutive days. eToys dropped 3 cents Monday to 28 cents.
eToys's share price took the usual dot-com trajectory: After going public in the summer of 1999, shares rose as high as $90, giving the company a market value of more than $1.5 billion, before collapsing.
After seeing much of its market share slip away to
Toys R Us
during the crucial holiday season, the company laid off 70% of its employees on Jan. 4, capping a disturbing Christmas season that saw it disclose that it was burning cash much more quickly than it expected.
Rumors of eToys' demise have circulated for about a month, and the news deals another blow to the online retail industry. While online retailing once sent investors into a tizzy with its promise of soaring growth and low costs, those fantasies have largely evaporated, leaving
as the two remaining pure Internet retailers that have the attention of investors.
Instead, what this past holiday season made clear is that the online offshoots of traditional retailers are beginning to
dominate shopping on the Web. While data from industry research group
Jupiter Media Metrix
show that $10.8 billion was spent online during the holiday season -- 54% above last year, but slightly shy of estimates -- most of that growth was from so-called bricks-and-clicks retailers.
And much to the chagrin of eToys, one of the largest online winners during the holidays was
, which saw its online sales
triple to $124 million thanks, in part, to its co-branded site with Amazon.
Other notable casualties in the collapse of e-commerce include
, an online shopping site with
founder Paul Allen. In addition,
Barnes & Noble.com
has failed to live up to expectations and recently took the unusual step of delaying its latest quarterly earnings release. Rumors continue to percolate among analysts and investors that its parent,
Barnes & Noble
, may take the company private.