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John Lewis' trading director, Luke Mayhew
"We're looking to develop two separate business streams"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 10:15 GMT
John Lewis snaps up buy.com
Buy.com
John Lewis has not said how much it paid for buy.com
Department store owner John Lewis Partnership is launching an ambitious foray into the world of e-tailing with the purchase of the UK arm of buy.com.

The partnership began selling a limited selection of goods online last year, and also operates six online shopping services through its grocery service Waitrose Direct.

Buy.com, while not widely known among the consumer market in the UK, is second only to market leader Amazon in the US.

The deal continues the recent trend of traditional retailers buying dot.com start-ups.

The 'best' online department store

The takeover aims to combine the goods and brand of John Lewis with the dot.com know-how and technology of buy.com.

"We know that many of our customers already shop online, and with buy.com we will be moving quickly to create the UK's best online department store offer," said Luke Mayhew, director of trading for John Lewis.


We will be moving quickly to create the UK's best online department store

Luke Mayhew
John Lewis

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the month, but the terms are not being disclosed.

The two businesses will have separate websites, with John Lewis developing both businesses in parallel.

The deal will also allow John Lewis to get a much wider selection of its goods online in a shorter space of time.

Dot.com blues

Buy.com launched in the UK last March and is currently adding new customers at a rate of 3,000 a week.

Specialising in electronic goods, office supplies and gifts, buy.com claims to have been the fourth most visited etail site in the UK in December.

But it has also run into the difficulties facing much of the dot.com world.

It reported fourth-quarter losses of $27.4m, has seen millions wiped off its share price and was forced to close its Australian operations.

The John Lewis Partnership operates 25 department stores across the UK and 136 Waitrose supermarkets.

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See also:

14 Sep 00 | Business
John Lewis profit bombshell
20 Sep 99 | The Company File
John Lewis rules out float
05 Sep 99 | The Company File
Buy.com's $2bn float plan
11 Mar 99 | The Company File
Sluggish shopping knocks John Lewis
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