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Petco shutting down one of its online businesses

Petco is absorbing its Drs. Fosters and Smith e-commerce business into

Petco acquired the veterinary-owned online pet supply company in early 2015 for $158.8 million. At the time, Drs. Fosters and Smith was one of the largest online pet retailers in the country.

In a notice to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development signed by Petco chief strategic innovation and digital experience officer Brock Weatherup, Petco stated it would be permanently closing all Drs. Foster and Smith (DFS) operations, which are based at a facility in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, effective March 10. Petco expects 289 employees working at the facility will be laid off during a two-week period beginning March 10. Petco’s Live Aquaria online aquatic life and aquarium supply site, also headquartered at the Rhinelander facility, is remaining in operation.

None of the 289 affected employees has collective bargaining representation or “bumping rights” in their job, according to Petco. In the letter, the company says it will offer additional onsite transition resources to affected employees, in cooperation with and in addition to services offered by the state of Wisconsin.

“Since Petco acquired DFS in 2015, consumer needs and preferences have continued to shift with technology, and the pet retail industry as a whole has continued to evolve at a rapid pace to keep up with these dynamics,” Petco states in the letter. “Taking into account the needs of modern pet parents, ever-changing consumer demands and the ongoing evolution of the Petco brand, we believe the closure of DFS will enable us to streamline operations and better focus on our core business and customer.”

Visitors to the Drs. Foster and Smith website are automatically redirected to the main Petco e-commerce site. A popup states “Doctors Foster and Smith is now part of the Petco family” and provides a 20% discount code for the customer’s first Petco order.
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