RealTime IT News

Buy.com Finds Buyer for its UK Site

Troubled Internet retailer buy.com, which said last week it will divest its UK operation, reportedly has found a buyer in British department store chain John Lewis Partnership. With its stock trading at less than $1 (it closed yesterday at 65 cents), the Aliso Viejo, CA-based company said last week that it also was letting go about 10 percent of its staff and refocusing on a drive to profitability.

John Lewis, which owns 25 department stores and 133 Waitrose supermarkets, said its research showed customers want to be able to shop online with the same selection they have in store, according to a Reuters report. By using buy.com's expertise they can make it happen faster than starting from scratch. Financial terms of the deal were not made public and in fact no official announcement has yet been made.

John Lewis apparently will operate buy.com UK as a separate site while using its technology to further develop its own department store site.

The buy.com Web site reportedly will continue advertising its own price guarantees, and will not use the department store's slogan - Never Knowingly Undersold.

Profitability for the UK operation is not expected soon, apparently. A spokesman for the department store chain, which has a basic site of its own, was quoted as saying that the company hopes to reach break-even in three years.

Buy.com, which reported a loss of $27 million for the fourth quarter of 2000, also said last week that it is closing down its Canadian operation.