UK food retailer abandons Internet

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UK food retailer Budgens has abandoned its Internet home shopping service.

In a statement Budgens chief executive Martin Hyson said there had been a low level of customer interest. He said that they could deliver greater value to shareholders by focusing on their core business of fresh food-based neighbourhood stores.

Smaller grocery chains in the UK have found it difficult to break into the market, which is dominated by retailing giants like Tesco, which has just added electrical goods to its online range.

Troubled supermarket chain Somerfield pulled out of web retailing in June, while the UK’s number two online food retailer, Iceland, abandoned plans to sell groceries through interactive television.

UK online food market leader Tesco, meanwhile, announced it would expand its internet operation, adding 1,000 electrical goods to its product line-up. Its web range would then include smaller items such as games consoles and cameras and extend to large products including television sets and freezers.

The company is already taking 60,000 online orders each week, generating sales worth $7 million. In comparison, Budgens entire bricks-and-mortars operation generated sales averaging just $12.2 million a week.

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