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Tuesday, 15 January, 2002, 17:46 GMT
Etailers 'raised Christmas prices'
e-shopping
Dotcoms were trying to maximise profits during the Christmas rush
The past Christmas has brought some relief for struggling internet retailers.

As the Goldfish e-Tail Price Index, which monitors UK's e-tailers, has shown, prices of products online rose 0.6% in December.

It is thought that dotcoms were trying to maximise profits during the Christmas rush and taking advantage of consumers eager to avoid the crush by shopping online.

Big British online stores managed to make strong sales in 2001. Among those claiming an excellent year were Tesco.com, Amazon.co.uk, WHSmith.co.uk and Bol.com.

Online retailers hope that as long as consumers are ready to pay a premium for the ease of internet shopping during the festive period, it is possible that they will do so in 2002.

Given a choice between a bargain or convenience, shoppers are ready to choose the latter, etailers hope.

That preference would allow on-line retailers could charge higher prices and still retain their consumer base.

It might also be seen as a sign that large investment by e-tailers last year in refining their delivery systems was well spent.

But while the big UK companies have maintained the pace of e-business, many small and medium sized firms have held back from this market, risking the loss of competitiveness.

In an attempt to help small and medium sized businesses to exploit the e-market, British Chambers of Commerce and the Department of Trade and Industry have joined leading companies in a promotion drive.

They are setting up the first ever support network eBusiness Club to help more small and medium companies to do business on-line.

Companies joining the club will receive information, guidance and technical and business support to integrate e-commerce solutions in their everyday business routine.

Among the "god-fathers" of the new project are British Telecom, Lloyds TSB, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

See also:

17 Dec 01 | Business
Christmas food shopping uncovered
26 Nov 01 | Business
Hopes rise for internet stores
09 Nov 01 | Business
Online retailers target commuters
23 Feb 01 | Business
E-tailers get their just e-wards
12 Oct 00 | UK
A dot of trouble
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