RealTime IT News

Boots, Telegraph Group to Launch Women's Net Service

Calling it handbag.com, The Boots Company and Hollinger Telegraph New Media announced plans Wednesday to launch a complete Internet service for women.

Aiming to be "the most useful place online for British women," it will offer email, Web access, news, information and online shopping.

The launch date for handbag.com has been set for October 6, with 18 channels covering such topics as fashion, health, beauty, entertainment and news.

"handbag.com is not just another Internet Service Provider," explained Dominic Riley, managing director of the 50/50 joint venture, and formerly head of marketing at BBC Online.

"It is a complete Internet service designed and built to satisfy the needs of British women. The combined strengths of Boots and the Telegraph Group will enable us to create and sustain a uniquely compelling proposition for female Internet users."

For Boots The Chemists, the new service will provide an opportunity to market its health and beauty products. Through its 1400 stores it will also distribute 3 million handbag.com CDs, the largest-ever distribution of an Internet free-access disk in the UK.

The other partner, the Hollinger/Telegraph Group, is already a major player in the Internet industry, with such sites as the Electronic Telegraph and the UKMax portal site in the UK, and Canada's leading portal site canada.com.

"We are moving into an era of multiple channels to reach our target audience," commented Lord Blyth, chairman of The Boots Company.

"Through Boots The Chemists shops, our Advantage Card, our catalogue services, our Health & Beauty magazine and now the Internet we will be uniquely placed to respond to the needs of women shoppers and strengthen existing relationships with our customers."

Internet connectivity for handbag.com is being provided by British Telecom.