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Sales up, losses too

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Shares in lastminute.com nudged up 14p in early trading this morning despite news that the online bucket shop suffered first half pre-tax losses of 17 million. It received 1.2 million in commission over Q1 and Q2 for selling last minute goods, but this was swamped the costs incurred running the e-business. The total value of the items it sold in the first half of the year was 11.4 million. Product development cost the e-outfit 4 million, sales and marketing 7 million and administration almost 3.5 million, among others. During Q2 e-punters bought more than 74,500 items, compared to 39,683 in Q1. Around 45 per cent of the items sold in Q2 were non-travel travel related products and services. Lastminute.com was also the most recognised e-commerce brand in London and second most recognised in UK. Although the losses were worse than expected, CEO Brent Hoberman remained chirpy. "The growth we have demonstrated shows the significant progress we are making in building a global last minute marketplace. "We are delighted that growth has continued during the period - our total transaction value for the quarter was three times that for the total financial year 1999," he said.

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