Online used-vehicle retailer Shift Technologies Inc. said Thursday it was shedding its physical stores on the East Coast, which it obtained through its December merger with used-vehicle consignment company CarLotz Inc.
Shift Technologies, headquartered in San Francisco, previously cited CarLotz's established presence on the East Coast as a key reason for undertaking the deal, which was announced in August and closed Dec. 9.
The retailer said its store leases, inventory and related assets in Richmond, Va.; Charlottesville, Va.; and Tampa, Fla., will "be assumed by a local dealership group." It did not disclose the name of the group in a news release announcing the exit from the region. Stores in Midlothian, Va.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Greensboro, N.C., were closed Thursday.
"After thoughtful consideration, we determined it was in the best interest of the company to exit the East Coast CarLotz presence," Shift Technologies CEO Jeff Clementz said in the release. "As we remain laser-focused on reaching profitability, we felt it was the right decision to focus on geographies where we have the most operating expertise, logistical and brand awareness leverage, and ability to scale."
Remaining CarLotz stores in Pomona, Calif., and Downers Grove, Ill., are being converted into omnichannel Shift Technologies locations serving the greater Los Angeles and Chicago metropolitan areas, the company said. Omnichannel refers to technology and processes aimed at providing a seamless buying experience for consumers whether they shop online, in-store or both.
Shift Technologies also said that in the past few months it has reenabled in-person sales at its three West Coast locations, which are in Portland, Ore.; Oakland, Calif.; and Los Angeles.
Shares in Shift Technologies slipped 3.2 percent to 27 cents at the market close Thursday.
Shift Technologies will use the remaining CarLotz assets to build out its omnichannel presence, Clementz said.
The retailer undertook a major restructuring in 2022, which entailed cutting jobs and closing seven of its 10 maintenance and customer relations locations — four in Texas, two in California and one in Washington — to better position itself to become profitable. The restructuring was "substantially complete" as of Sept. 30, Shift Technologies said in a regulatory filing.