WESTWOOD, Mass. -- ShopLink.com here is quietly waiting out the e-commerce cash crunch, John R. Icke, chairman and chief executive officer, told SN.
The company, which delivers groceries and services to customers in Boston and Southern Connecticut, has indefinitely postponed expansion to Philadelphia, which was expected to launch this quarter, Icke said. The decision to postpone the service, made several months ago, also meant 21 layoffs, he added.
ShopLink, like a number of other Internet grocers, has been unable to find the additional financing it would need to expand. It had said earlier this year it would be operating in the Philadelphia region out of a 127,000-square-foot warehouse in Westhampton, N.J.
"It's a matter of needing to raise more money," Icke said. "Right now it's not available. We were in the process of raising money in the spring and summer of this year but it got very tough. We decided we had to protect our cash position and grow our existing markets."
Icke said the privately held company is doing "extremely well" in its existing two markets, with average orders up to $107.11 and 66% of its customers using the service on a weekly basis. However, the company has yet to show an operating profit. He declined to say when he expected to ShopLink to reach that point.
Icke said ShopLink has been caught up in a backlash against business-to-consumer e-commerce companies. While he feels investors are "focusing in on what is not being accomplished rather than what can be accomplished," some of the skepticism has been justified, he said.
"There were too many B2C companies that went public with not particularly solid business plans," he said. "Unfortunately, all B2C businesses were tarred with the same brush."
Icke said his company would "proceed cautiously" in the meantime, with an eye on additional funding after its existing markets can break even.