Zulily to Shut Down Following Layoffs, Months Into New Ownership
Online retailer Zulily is shutting down, reports CNBC. The business ceased operations on Fri., Dec. 22, 2023. In a note on the company’s homepage, an official said Zulily’s leadership had “made the difficult but necessary decision to conduct an orderly wind-down of the business to maximize value for the companies’ creditors” by entering an assignment for the benefit of creditors, or an ABC. Under that process, which is a bankruptcy alternative, Zulily’s assets will be liquidated over the next 12 months to 18 months. Customers with pending orders should expect them to be fulfilled, or receive a refund, by Jan. 22.
“This decision was not easy nor was it entered into lightly,” wrote Ryan Baker, vice president of Douglas Wilson Companies, which is overseeing Zulily’s closure. “However, given the challenging business environment in which Zulily operated, and the corresponding financial instability, Zulily decided to take immediate and swift action.”
Total Retail's Take: Zulily is closing its doors just seven months into new ownership. The online retailer was sold by Qurate Retail Group to private equity investment firm Regent in May. Zulily had been in decline for years before coming to a crashing halt in December. In the first three weeks of the month, the company laid off 800 workers; its website went offline, redirecting visitors to a blank page with a message stating, “We are down for maintenance”; its credit card was no longer being accepted for purchases, according to Synchrony Bank and GeekWire; and it filed a lawsuit against competitor Amazon.com alleging that the e-commerce giant engaged in price fixing and "bullying" behavior so merchants would leave Zulily. Earlier that fall, CEO Terry Boyle announced internally his decision to leave the company, effective Oct. 31.
The shutdown was poorly timed at the height of the holiday season, leaving many customers wondering if they'll receive their holiday orders or a refund. The note on the Zulily homepage lists claims agent Omni Agent Solutions as customers' resource for order updates. The proceedings mark a steep fall from grace for Zulily, which launched in 2010 and went public three years later. At its peak in 2015, it was valued at roughly $9 billion.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Total Retail and sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality at NAPCO Media. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for all brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, WLT&H or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment—or at home on Zoom—recording interviews with thought leaders and business executives.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her family and two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.