Internet Grocers Drop Like Flies — Could Internet grocery shopping be the kind of service that appeals greatly to a few while failing to attract the necessary mass market to survive? Last week, ShopLink, an Internet grocer serving several states in the northeast U.S., shut its site down abruptly, and Streamline, another Internet grocer targeting the east coast, announced that it too would be closing up shop on 22-Nov-00. These closures follow the demise of Priceline.com’s WebHouse Club grocery bidding site, which at least had the excuse of being a silly idea. The remaining big fish are Webvan (which recently bought HomeGrocer.com, its next-largest rival), Peapod (which two months ago purchased Streamline’s operations in Chicago and Washington, D.C.), and the Texas-based GroceryWorks (which has investment from and an alliance with grocery giant Safeway). There’s undoubtedly a link between the ills of the Internet grocers and the recent performance of the dot-coms, with a number of high-profile failures including Pets.com, Furniture.com, and MotherNature.com. But if the rise of Internet grocers causes traditional supermarkets to offer Internet ordering and home delivery, consumers will have won in the end. [ACE]
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