US firm Priceline.com has pulled the plug on Webhouse Club just weeks after pumping millions into the online grocery shopping venture. A spokesman said it had failed to secure enough investment to keep it afloat. The decision was not a great surprise to analysts. Major US online players such as Webvan and Peapod have struggled to secure funding as investors have become increasingly sceptical about the growth prospects for e-commerce companies. Webhouse has secured more than $200m in private capital, attracted two million customers and handled over seven million transactions. But Priceline founder Jay Walker said he had been unable to raise further investment: "We can't raise the substantial capital we need to finish the job." Webhouse asked shoppers to select unpriced goods online and then make "blind bids" for them, which it could either accept or reject. Rather than delivering groceries ordered online to customers' homes, goods had to be picked up at local stores, an arrangement many online analysts felt defeated the purpose of remote shopping. Others felt the innovative "name your price" aspect of the operation had also backfired, as shoppers picking up groceries saw items retailing at lower prices in stores than they had negotiated online. {{NEWS }}