Going against a wave of online euphoria elsewhere, Tuesday Morning, the close-out retailer of home goods, quietly shut down its e-commerce operations in July.
On its Facebook page, Tuesday Morning said the store is "returning to its roots" with the new policy. Under interim CEO Michael Rouleau, the former chief executive of Michaels Stores, Tuesday Morning is in the midst of a turnaround focused on reviving its store base and better defining its brand identity. The 2008 housing bust particularly hampered the chain.
But getting the most attention was that the retailer on its website called out "the nature of our closeout business" as the reason it exited online selling. Closeout retailers in general have also been slow to embrace e-commerce because of the channel's unpredictable inventories. Selling closeouts online, according to The Wall Street Journal, involves "a constant stream of one-time items and overruns that arrive every day from a patchwork of department stores and manufacturers."
The Associated Press also noted that the "treasure hunt" atmosphere at closeout stores is hard to replicate online.
Still, online shopping club and flash sites such as One Kings Lane and Kynetic LLC's Rue La La, owned in part by eBay, have reportedly drawn the broad attention of deal hunters. Dollar General launched its e-commerce site in 2011. TJX Cos., the largest closeout retailer, is planning to launch e-commerce this year. Big online investments are also being planned for Saks Inc.'s Off 5th and Nordstrom's Rack off-price concepts.
But given the investments required in managing orders, returns and other customer service demands of an online business, Marshall Cohen, chief retail industry analyst with The NPD Group, believes Tuesday Morning may be better off focusing only on its in-store impulse shoppers.
"Everybody thinks they should have a Facebook page, they should have a Twitter handle, they should have a website — that is not entirely true," Mr. Cohen told The Associated Press. "When a company is progressive enough to know that they are not good enough at it. ... I give them kudos for getting out."
Do you agree that e-commerce has become a requirement for stores, big or small, to offer?