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.

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