Gartner analysts Kevin Murphy and Geri Spieler say the recent buyout of Net grocer PDQuick by WhyRunOut.com is another step toward the ultimate destination of the online home-delivery market--franchising.
Frederickson said employees at PDQuick's Camarillo, Calif., headquarters were locked out of the facilities after the deal was sealed Tuesday. They were told Wednesday that they could interview for their old jobs with the company, he said.
In June 2000, PDQuick received $20 million in funding from backers that included GE Capital Group. At the time it expected to operate in 30 cities, and it eventually made deliveries in Maryland and San Diego.
PDQuick began winding down operations in the past two months, closing some of the 16 brick-and-mortar stores it operates in the Los Angeles area. Executives informed employees last month that the company would be forced to close altogether unless it could find a buyer or new investors, sources said.
Many Net home-delivery companies have recently scaled back operations or closed, as the costs of delivering food and other goods was too high and demand too low. Net delivery companies such as ShopLink, Streamline.com and Urbanfetch.com have shuttered operations.
As reported in March, PDQuick had been negotiating with now-defunct online retailer Kozmo.com for a possible merger.
Those talks broke down, sources said, when investors pulled out of the deal, sources close to the deal said. Former Net highflier Kozmo was forced to close its doors weeks later.
WhyRunOut is a Web-based delivery service that operates in Southern California. On its Web site, the Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based company displays products and services from local retailers and allows customers to order them online. It then transports the goods to customers' doors.
Representatives of WhyRunOut were not available for comment.