Barclays, Nomura to Launch Massive U.K. Shopping Portal

[London, ENGLAND] Barclays plc and Nomura International plc
announced Thursday a joint venture to create a Barclaycard-branded
Internet shopping portal, offering millions of products and
funded by US $45 million.

With online shopping expected to top US $18 billion by 2005,
the partners in the new venture are looking to attract
at least half a million customers by the end of next
year. They also expect to carry “over 5 million products”
from 350 retailers, with categories including gifts,
computers, travel, health, music and clothing.

Bob Potts, Barclaycard’s chief executive, claimed that
Nomura’s investment was an endorsement of Barclaycard’s
status as a premier online payments brand. There are
0.3 million personal customers using Barclaycard’s
online account services in Europe.

“Building our credentials as a major player in Internet-related
commerce will be a significant factor in the growth of
Barclaycard over the next 5 to 10 years,” said Potts.

Initially, Barclaycard will target the service at all
consumers in the United Kingdom although people in other
European countries will also be able to use it.

Senia Rapisarda, head of principal investments for
Nomura’s communications & technology group, said
the strength of the Barclaycard brand would allow the portal
to capture a substantial share of the online shopping market.

Barclaycard says retailers will have to reach “exacting minimum
standards relating to their Internet trading” in order to
participate in the portal. If accepted, they will have
their offerings made accessible via a multi-variable search
facility that identifies best value across various
product sectors.

The portal is expected to launch later this year with
around a million products from the initial group
of retailers.

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