Furniture.com plans restoration

A new ownership group plans to launch a revamped site Monday, 18 months after the Internet-only furniture retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read
A new ownership group plans to launch a revamped Furniture.com on Monday, 18 months after the Internet-only furniture retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Unlike the former Furniture.com venture, which attempted to warehouse and sell its own inventory, the new company is teaming with established traditional furniture company Levitz Home Furnishings, which operates chains Levitz Furniture and Seaman Furniture, said Carl Prindle, president of the new company.

The former Furniture.com, which was backed by venture capital company CMGI, became synonymous with the difficulties that befell many ambitious dot-coms.

In a report by CNET News.com in July 2000, former employees described a company in utter chaos as it wrestled with huge losses, late shipments, angry customers and infighting among the company's leadership.

Few Internet-only furniture companies survived the dot-com shakeout that began in April 2000. Living.com filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in August 2000, and HomePortfolio closed its e-commerce operation in September 2000 after only seven months.

Prindle said that a group of former Furniture.com employees began negotiating to buy the domain name in November 2000 and finally completed the transaction in October 2001.

The new Furniture.com faces sizable challenges. The former company earned a reputation for delivering goods later than promised, but the new Furniture.com will take orders via the Web and transfer them to Levitz and Seaman, which have established delivery systems, Prindle said.

see special coverage: Coming apart at the seams The new company plans to succeed by avoiding the mistakes of the former company and by teaming with experienced furniture stores that will warehouse and deliver the merchandise.

Orders should be delivered within seven to 10 days, Prindle said.

Prindle, a senior vice president for the former Furniture.com, said he is laboring to revive the Web site because of what he saw just before the former company filed for bankruptcy.

"At the end of the company's life, right at the end, the customer service model and the economic model were just showing legs," Prindle said.

He added that he realizes that the company has a long way to go before it convinces some consumers of its reliability.

"I hope they will take a look at the site, take a look at the concept and just give us a chance," Prindle said.