November 6, 2008, 12:00 AM

Delightful Deliveries looks to strike a deal on eBay

Delightful Deliveries used to sell gourmet food and gift baskets online. Now it hopes to use the web to sell itself.

Delightful Deliveries used to sell gourmet food and gift baskets online. Now it’s hoping to use the web to sell itself.

The retailer is offering its assets to the highest bidder on eBay’s virtual auction block. Bidding starts at $10,000 and ends Friday, Eric Lituchy, the founder and CEO of the web and catalog merchant, tells Internet Retailer.

The package for sale includes the DelightfulDeliveries.com URL and trademark, the merchant’s database of customers, its web site code and possibly some toll-free customer service phone numbers, Lituchy says. Buyers also will receive several domain names owned by the company, including Delightfulcakes.com and Delightfulcandy.com.

Delightful Deliveries, which launched in 1998, stopped taking online orders in September. Lituchy says interest from potential buyers led the company to pursue a sale in June 2007, but when the credit crunch and sagging economy hit prospects dried up, as did the company’s cash flow.

“Let’s just say we are a victim of bad timing,” Lituchy says. “While we offered exceptional customer service, broad product selection and world-class web site functionality it wasn`t enough to overcome rising advertising costs, competitive pressures and economic factors.” Sales for the retailer fell 15.4% to $5.5 million in 2007 from $6.5 million a year earlier.

Last winter, the company was in final negotiations for a sale with prepared meal retailer Dinewise.com, but the deal fell through when Dinewise couldn’t secure the financing it needed, Lituchy says. He says similar deals with other potential buyers fell through as well.

“We just decided a few weeks ago to do the auction,” Lituchy says. “The process of finding a buyer is very, very time-consuming.”

Delightful Deliveries’ eBay listing has yet to attract any bidders, but Lituchy says some competitors have called to ask about the offer and a few have expressed interest.

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