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News >  Business

Etailz reduces staff following parent company losses

Jan. 10, 2019 Updated Thu., Jan. 10, 2019 at 6:52 p.m.


Etailz has reduced its staff by 20 percent after its parent company reported $14 million in losses during the third quarter.

The company released a brief statement Thursday afternoon saying it underwent a “strategic realignment” but didn’t provide details. Etailz Human Resources Director Andrea LaPlant did not respond to emails seeking information about the number of positions cut.

Etailz moved to a new headquarters in Spokane Valley last summer. At the time, CEO Josh Neblett said the company had outgrown its space in the McKinstry Station in Spokane’s U-District and needed more room to accommodate its 250 employees.

Etailz was founded in 2008 by two Gonzaga University students and their professor and angel investor, Tom Simpson. The company, a large third-party seller on marketplaces such as Amazon, was acquired in 2016 for $75 million by Trans World Entertainment Corp. of Albany, New York.

Simpson, who remains a Trans World shareholder, said in an email he was “saddened and disappointed” by news of etailz layoffs.

Although he’s not an employee or consultant, Simpson attributed the the layoffs to slowing growth and competition in etailz’ core business. Trans World’s FYE division also struggled over the past year, he noted.

FYE, which stands for For Your Entertainment, is a specialty retailer of entertainment and pop culture, including music, movies and games. FYE has about 270 stores in addition to online sales, and the division has been affected by declining mall traffic, Trans World said in its third-quarter earnings report released in December.

Etailz sales increased 8 percent during the third quarter and represented about 48 percent of Trans World’s total revenue for the quarter. However, etailz also had higher expenses during the quarter, the company reported.

Simpson said etailz’s challenges can be “readily mitigated,” and he’s offered to help Trans World as a consultant or board member.

“In my opinion, Trans World should focus exclusively on etailz, move its headquarters to Spokane and change its name to etailz,” Simpson said. “Etailz is Trans World’s most valuable asset and (it) does not have sufficient bandwidth to operate two separate divisions in two different cities.”

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