Survivor’s Gilt: amid losses and departures, the flash sale industry struggles to stay alive


Gilt chairman Kevin Ryan is feeling good about the world. “In December, the month that just ended, we signed up more members than we’ve signed up in the history of the company,” he tells me. Great news! So no problems on the flash sale front? “All the companies in the space are growing quite quickly. Not everybody’s going to make it, but the category is doing extremely well.”

Mr. Ryan is, to put it politely, in the minority. The flash-sale model, selling overstock products at deep discounts for a short period of time, saw great success a few years ago, but now venture capitalists are singing a different tune. “There will certainly be a lot of carnage in the flash-sale space,” one funder with ties to the industry told us. “If you’re not…

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