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(July 9, 2001) -- The most ambitious of the grocery e-tailers called it quits today as Webvan Group said it would halt operations, including deliveries of existing orders, lay off 2,000 employees and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Sales volume for the troubled e-tailer declined further in the second quarter, the company said in a statement. Webvan had served the Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Portland, Ore., markets.

Launched in 1999, Webvan raised more than $800 million from venture capital firms and stockholders. But the company lost more than $830 million in two years. As of June 30, the company estimated it had $38 million to $40 million in cash and $97.5 million in liabilities.

Webvan was one of the few dot-coms to continue advertising this year, launching a new campaign from Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, in March highlighting its standing as a "last mile" Internet delivery service at a time when the company was on its last legs. -- Jack Neff

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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