This season, traditional retailers are beefing up their e-commerce efforts by allying with surviving e-tailers, hiring online fulfillment specialists, and even bringing dead dot-coms back to life.
What's new: Borders (BGP)hired Amazon (AMZN)to operate a revamped, co-branded Borders.com Web site, as well as handle shipping and customer service.
Result: Selling out to the competition? Maybe, but Borders was losing $29 million a year online before. Now its site, opened in August, is profitable.
Dick's Sporting Goods
What's new: In April, the 125-store Eastern retail chain outsourced its DicksSportingGoods.com site to Web company Global Sports (GSPT), which manages the site, inventory, and customer service.
Result: Even though Global Sports now gets most of the site's revenues, Dick's' remaining share is pure profit because it was able to cut its Net staff from 60 to one. Now, it has shifted the money toward opening 20 new stores while maintaining an online presence.
What's new: In October, the owner of the 1,300-store KB Toys chain resurrected eToys' (ETYS) Web site after buying most of the bankrupt dot-com's assets for $15 million.
Result: Having lost $100 million on its own site while netting only 1 million customers, KB spent far less to grab a first-class warehouse, a snazzy Web site, and the right to e-mail eToys' 3 million previous customers. Now it hopes to double its online sales this year, to $80 million.
Data: Company reports, BusinessWeek