Seven years ago, Amazon acquired Quidsi, what was then a five-year-old competitor that ran the sites Diapers.com and Soap.com. Since then, the company has been running independently and expanded its offerings. Now Amazon is shuttering Quidsi’s brands, saying that it’s been unable to make a profit since the acquisition.
Amazon acquired Quidsi in 2011, after a price war that the newer startup couldn’t afford to win. Under Amazon, Quidsi created new stores meant to be helpful to families, which included kids’ clothing, and sporting goods, home goods, pet supplies, and natural products.
“We have worked extremely hard for the past seven years to get Quidsi to be profitable, and unfortunately we have not been able to do so,” an Amazon spokesperson told Consumerist.
Quidsi founder Marc Lore left a few years after the acquisition. He founded Jet.com in 2015, another innovative but chronically unprofitable e-commerce startup. We called it “either the future of retail or a doomed wacky scheme,” and were sort of right on both counts. Jet wasn’t profitable, but Walmart acquired Jet last year for more than $3 billion, making Lore its head of e-commerce.
We asked Amazon for clarification on when the Quidsi family of sites will close, since we know that there are many fans in our audience. All that a spokesperson has told us so far is that the company “will continue to offer selection on Amazon.com,” and that its software development staff will shift to working on the growing AmazonFresh grocery brand.
Update: Bloomberg reports that according to a WARN notice filed with the state of New Jersey, 261 employees at Quidsi’s Jersey City headquarters will lose their jobs in June. Some of them will be able to apply for other jobs at Amazon. The company also had its own warehouses in Kansas and Nevada.