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Tesco will not spin-off its ISP

Will use it to keep people shopping - every little helps

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Giant grocer Tesco has no plans to spin-off its Internet business -- well, not yet anyway -- despite yesterday's announcement that Dixons was planning to sell-off Freeserve. It also made it clear that the subscription-free TescoNet ISP service launched at the end of January will be an integral part of the supermarket's future ecommerce strategy. Announcing Tesco's results for last year, financial director, Andrew Higginson, said that the company had no immediate plans to float TescoNet. He did add that the company would watch the market "with interest". "We don't see it as a separate business at this stage," he said. "We see it very much as a route in to our home delivery operation, primarily as something to use within our own business rather than as a stand-alone operation." With its stall clearly laid out and its strategy as clear the Scottish mineral water it sells in aisle 12, Tesco also announced it will start to roll-out its home shopping trial TescoDirect across the country in the next few months. By the end of the year it expects to have more than 100 stores up and down the country delivering groceries to customers who originally placed their orders via the Internet. Tesco also used the occasion to publish the first official figures for the service. Although no financial breakdown was available it confirmed it now had 200,000 registered users of its service and that this number was growing by around 10,000 a week. ®

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