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Upscale shopping site Foofoo closes down

In a note on its Web site, the closely held upscale shopping site tells customers that it is closed down and is now directing them to its e-tail partners.

Foofoo.com is the latest e-commerce site to go bye bye.

In a note on its Web site, the closely held upscale shopping site told customers that it has closed shop and pointed them to its e-tail partners.

"Thank you for visiting Foofoo.com," the company said in its note. "Regrettably, we are closed. Rest assured, we will process all orders placed on the site prior to its closing."

In an email obtained by CNET News.com, the company notified its partners last Monday that it was going out of business.

"We have closed the site down and will be wrapping things up over the next week," said a company representative in the email. "With that said, I want to assure all of you that we are planning to pay open invoices."

Company representatives did not respond to repeated calls for comment.

Foofoo is the latest in a string of e-commerce 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.

"Foofoo is another casualty in a long list that's growing by the day," said Jupiter Communications digital commerce analyst Heather Dougherty.

Foofoo.com opened for business last summer offering a combination of articles from magazines such as Elle and Men's Health and products from e-tailers such as Chipshot.com and Sharperimage.com. The company's business model was basically a glorified affiliates program, Dougherty said.

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Instead of carrying inventory, Foofoo essentially linked consumers to products on other sites and then relied on getting a percentage of the sales. But consumers had little incentive to return to Foofoo because they could get both the content and the products from the other sites, Dougherty said.

"There was not a whole lot of reason to go through Foofoo as an intermediary," Dougherty said.

Indeed, several of the company's partners said that they received little business from their affiliate relationships with Foofoo.

"It's news to us that they ceased operations," said Chipshot spokesman Hani Durzy. "They were an incredibly small part of what we did."

And at least one affiliate partner said Foofoo had been in trouble for some time. In January, Foofoo officials contacted business gift site BravoGifts.com about selling Foofoo's assets, said BravoGifts chief executive Allyson Campa.

"This is not a surprise to us," Campa said. "We knew back in January that they were running out of cash."