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Gazoontite files for bankruptcy

The site, once noted for being one of the first pure online retailers to establish an offline presence, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Gazoontite.com, once noted for being one of the first pure online retailers to open brick-and-mortar stores, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in San Francisco, a court clerk said.

Though Gazoontite continues to operate its five physical stores--in Southern California, San Francisco, Schaumburg, Ill., New York City and New York's Long Island--the company shut down its Web store late last month.

The most common form of bankruptcy, Chapter 11 protects a company from its creditors while reorganizing its finances. Company executives did not return phone calls Tuesday.

The dot-com world is a desiccated landscape, with funding having dried up after technology stocks crashed last spring. E-commerce stores have attempted to slash overhead to preserve their cash, but with most a long way from seeing profits, a growing number are shutting down.

In the last few weeks, direct marketing site mValue, luxury-goods store Miadora.com and teen site Kibu are just a few examples.

For more than two months, Gazoontite, which sells asthma and allergy relief products, has wrestled with a cash shortage. In August, the company laid off about 50 workers, reducing its staff by 41 percent and began an intense search for new funding, a quest many dot-com executives are becoming familiar with.