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Dog days hit Petstore.com as staff cut

In what could be the first sign of a shakeout in the overcrowded online pet segment, Petstore.com says it has reduced part of its staff.

Online pet retailer Petstore.com today said it has cut part of its staff, just the latest sign of a possible shakeout in the crowded Net retail market.

Emeryville, Calif.-based Petstore, which is owned by the Discovery Channel, declined to say how many employees were let go.

"Because of the current environment there has been a reduction in force," Petstore spokesman Binay Cahn said. "Our message is very short and very clear. Petstore.com is still fully operational."

Contacted this afternoon, Petstore's vice president of marketing Steve Reinhardt would only say, "we had some right-sizing."

The pet sector was one among a number of online markets that analysts predicted were overpopulated and were due to shrink in size.

Online shopping site Foofoo.com Online pet stores throw shoppers a bone today closed its doors, only the latest in a string of sites to go out of business. In the last two weeks, high-profile British fashion store Boo.com and Disney-owned Toysmart.com both closed up shop.

Today, however, Boo announced that it had been acquired by Fashionmall.com.

The closures come as the public markets have lost interest in e-commerce shares. In turn, venture capitalists have been increasingly reluctant to fund e-commerce start-ups, many of which have run up massive deficits with no sign of future profits.