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Tesco.com, iVillage to Create Women's Site for U.K.

[London, ENGLAND] The U.K's largest retailer Tesco has teamed with iVillage, the operator of The Women's Network, to create iVillage UK.

The new U.K. site, which despite its name will also serve the Republic of Ireland, is iVillage's first international equity relationship. It is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2000 with eight content channels covering topics of interest to women.

Tesco's contribution to iVillage UK will be $18 million in cash over the next three years, together with marketing know-how and extensive promotion. With iVillage contributing content, branding and intellectual property, the total resources being put into the venture are said to be worth in the region of $70 million.

Candice Carpenter, chief executive officer, iVillage, said the U.K. launch was an exciting step in the globalization of iVillage.com.

"It's a natural alliance: iVillage brings best-of-breed content. Tesco.com brings proven e-commerce savvy. As Tesco's Clubcard magazine also reaches 14 million U.K. consumers, iVillage UK is very well positioned to quickly build a leadership position through cross-promotional initiatives, further establishing an international footprint for the iVillage.com brand," said Carpenter.

John Browett, chief executive officer, Tesco, confirmed there was synergy between the two companies and said that of all potential Internet partners, iVillage was the one with a clear lead in community-based content.

Just two or three years ago, analysts were still judging the Internet to be male-dominated. Now, they expect women to comprise 60 percent of all U.K. online users by 2005, according to figures noted by Tesco.

Michele Anderson, senior vice president, Strategic Development, iVillage, said that in the United States 80 percent of all purchases are controlled or influenced by women. She thought that iVillage.co.uk would benefit from the same trend, providing sponsors with a powerful marketing platform for reaching U.K. women.

Tesco has enjoyed significant success with its own online business at tesco.com, notching up 48,000 orders per week with annual sales of $300 million. In the "real world" it now has 646 stores in the U.K. and 75 in the Republic of Ireland.