Pets.com to Dip Into UK Market

Online pet product supplier Pets.com
this week made a dash for worldwide expansion by agreeing to make an equity
investment in Petspark.com, a
UK-based community site.

With the deal, Pets.com said it will be able to leverage its commitment to
consumers, expertise in the pet e-commerce space and deep knowledge of the
pet industry with a local understanding of the trends, needs and interests
of UK pet owners.

Petspark.com is a new, “pure play” Web site which offers pet owners
pet-related services including products, expert advice from veterinarians
and animal behaviorists and a growing online community of pet owners. In
addition, the Web site features a cast of lively cartoon characters, games
and children’s learning activities.

The Pets.com relationship with Petspark.com will largely resemble that of
its current relationship with lead investor Amazon.com. (AMZN). Pets.com will create its own “buddy system” with Petspark.com, providing
direct access for the Petspark.com management team to the Pets.com
management team for advice and strategic planning. Pets.com will have a
member on the Petspark.com board of directors.

Pets.com said it strategically chose to expand first into the United Kingdom. The
UK’s multi-billion dollar pet industry is the largest in
Europe. There are over 52 million pets in the U.K., with over half of all
households owning at least one pet. In addition, like the United
States, the UK offers great opportunity for online pet
retailers because the bricks and mortar pet retailers are
fragmented, with no one chain owning more than 11 percent of the market.

“Our strategic alliance with Pets.com will be important in helping
establish Petspark.com as a UK online pet leader,” said Nicholas
Barnard, Petspark.com CEO. “Teaming up with Pets.com will enable us to
learn from their experiences and to bring their commitment to great
customer service, quality products and passion for the pet owner to our
company and country.”

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