Mobile gadget souk Expansys shuttered its digital doors to consumers – a natural conclusion for a business that lost direction under the ownership of lanky Dragons' Den badass Peter Jones in a commoditised space.
"Expansys is now focused on its partner and B2B business hence the website is closed to consumers. If you are a business and interested in products, services or pricing, please contact..." yada, yada, the website says.
There was a separate mail address for customers with queries about warranty services, returns and other things. So that's it – thanks for all the fish, see ya.
Expansys, a smartphone and related accessories specialist, started life in 1998, and Jones joined as vice chairman in 2000.
The firm listed on AIM in 2007 and seven years later – some of them loss-making – Jones took it private, a move that earned him plenty of cash but perhaps wasn't so financially productive for other investors.
The margins on smartphones just aren't what they used to be and competition for business is furious so it was merely a matter of time before Jones and his mobile tech reseller cut their losses.
The firm hasn't made a profit since 2012, notching more than £50m in losses from FY13 to FY16, P&L accounts filed with Companies House indicated.
The potential margins in B2B mobile sales are higher than in flogging relatively low-value items to consumers as products can be sold with attached services, said Tim Coulling, senior analyst at Canalys.
This is a volume-sales market and competing against the likes Amazon and Dixons Carphone was becoming more difficult for smaller outfits including Expanses, he told The Register.
Jones did not return calls for comment. ®