*Garden.com Weeds Staff, Ceases Operations

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Garden.com, Austin, TX, yesterday announced the shutdown of e-commerce operations and staff terminations at the 5-year-old company.

The decision came almost two months after the company slashed its work force by 40 percent.

The company is considering "strategic alternatives'' for its recently formed business division, Trellis, designed to showcase the company's software.

In a statement on its Web site yesterday, president/CEO Cliff Sharples said the company had been unable to raise additional funding to finance the company's growth.

The announcement came on the heels of the Pets.com closure last week. Garden.com, which specialized in garden products online, had hired investment bank Robertson Stephens in the spring to assist in the search for new investors, a possible merger partner or a buyer, but it was unsuccessful.

In afternoon trading, Garden.com stock fell 9 cents, or about 37 percent, to 16 cents on the Nasdaq. Shares of the company have traded below $1 since late September.

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