Petsmart.com buys URL of former rival Pets.com

Computer World –

Online pet-supply retailer Petsmart.com in Pasadena, Calif., said it has purchased the URL of Pets.com, which went out of business last month.

The announcement was made on Petsmart.com's Web site. When consumers click on www.pets.com, they are redirected to the Petsmart.com Web site.

Petsmart.com officials could not immediately be reached for comment. And the comptroller of Pets.com declined to release information about the sale. He also refused to comment on whether Petsmart bought any of Pets.com's other assets, including its well-known sock puppet used in its advertising. The Pets.com was shut down after the company was unable to find new financing or a buyer.

Earlier this week, Petsmart Inc., which is in Phoenix, announced its third-quarter financial results. The company reported a third-quarter net loss of $2.4 million, or 2 cents per share due, in part, to lingering start-up problems related to installation of SAP AG's retail applications completed in 1999. Net sales for the third quarter were $541.3 million, compared to $511.8 million reported for the same period last year. Net operating income for the third quarter 2000 was $0.5 million compared to $5.6 million for the third quarter 1999.

But company officials said the company is still on the road to profitability.

"Financially and operationally, we remain on track," said Chairman, President and CEO Philip Francis in the statement. "Our balance sheet is healthy, we are implementing initiatives to drive both sales and profitability and I am confident that we'll deliver improved margins, and meet our projected revenues of more than $2.2 billion for 2000."

Two weeks ago, the company said it planned to acquire the controlling interest in its unprofitable e-commerce affiliate Petsmart.com, which had until now been operated under a joint venture set up last year with a small online pet-supply company that was known as PetJungle.com. Petsmart Inc. said the proposed deal with Petsmart.com will give it 81% ownership of the e-commerce venture.

"While our decision to acquire Petsmart.com resulted in a one-time, noncash charge in the third quarter, the e-commerce division can now join us with a balance sheet that is sound, clean and has appropriate asset valuations," Francis said in the statement.

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