Dot-com comes back from the doldrums

Hibernation - it's the new liquidation...

Hibernation - it's the new liquidation...

Bankrupt e-tailer Furniture.com is poised for a comeback this week, 18 months after it went bust. The site will go live tomorrow, with backing from several former employees and the support of some major US furniture retailers. The new management seems to have learned a lesson from the dot-com crash: they have shelved a pure-play internet strategy to forge marketing, distribution and technical support deals with furniture giants Seaman's and Levitz. Furniture.com also plans a relatively modest relaunch, covering just one third of the US, and limiting its catalogue selection. Marketing spend will be restricted, with the bricks and mortar partners integrating Furniture.com advertising into their own promotional campaigns. Furniture.com is just the latest in a growing list of dot-coms to enjoy a revival. Gloss.com, an Estée Lauder-backed beauty site, and eToys, the toy seller, both relaunched last November, just in time to cash in on the Christmas spend. Fashion e-tailer boo.com has also made a revival of sorts under the guise of Fashionmall.com. But despite this mini trend, Jason Purcell, CEO of venture capitalist firm Firststage Capital, doesn't believe there is any clear evidence that backers are warming to a second wave of dot-coms. He said: "The professional community still has a limited appetite for the internet-based businesses of two to three years ago. People now have higher expectations of business on the net." Before filing for bankruptcy in November 2000, Furniture.com came under fire after dozens of customers criticised late deliveries and a poor returns policy. Despite order fulfilment issues and a shelved IPO in early 2000, Furniture.com was hailed as an internet success - selling up to $20m worth of furniture per quarter in its heyday.