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The Boston Globe has a story about Wayfair, the online home goods seller:

“Wayfair has become a colossus since it was launched in a spare bedroom of cofounder Steve Conine’s Boston home in 2002: It has five popular branded websites stocked with some 10 million products, sales that are forecast to hit $6.6 billion this year, and a stock market value of $10 billion, making Wayfair one of the largest publicly traded companies in Massachusetts.”

At the same time, the Globe writes, “Wayfair is … on a shopping spree of its own - for people and for office space. It added about 2,000 employees in the first half of this year, and its headcount is approaching 10,000. The company is rapidly outgrowing its headquarters and next year will expand into a nearby building with space for another 4,000 employees.”

However … “Wayfair is increasingly vying against some of biggest names in retail,” the Globe writes. “Home Depot last year purchased the Company Store, offering bedding and textiles to complement its vanities and hardware. Walmart’s home offerings online now feature virtual tours and ‘Buy the Room’ options. Target acquired a shipping service for home deliveries, and Houzz, the home-design platform that connects customers with contractors, interior designers, and retailers, bulked up with $400 million in funding last year.

“And then there is Amazon. The online giant more than tripled its furniture sales to $4 billion from 2015 to 2017, according to One Click Retail. It now has two private-label brands, Rivet and Stone & Beam.”

There’s another problem: “The more Wayfair sells, the more it loses money. The company reported a net loss of nearly $245 million in 2017, yet is doubling down on a business plan that emphasizes growth over profit.” In other words, Wayfair is looking to approximate the Amazon model. The question is, can it eventually translate growth into profitability?

You can read the entire story here.
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