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Somerfield has announced plans to scrap its online shopping business this month.

The supermarket chain's ecommerce division will take its last orders on Sunday, and the business is due to shut on June 25. More than 200 staff will be affected by the move at its 24-7 shopping arm, but Somerfield today declined to comment on job losses.

The company, which last month recorded drooping Q4 sales, also kept schtum on today's FT report that the division - which has a presence on interactive TV channel Open - had been losing up to £1 million a month. Two of its newest depots were busying themselves with as few as 15 orders a week in early May, the article said.

"We may well have a fresh look at the role of ecommerce food retailing within Somerfield in the future," said John von Spreckelsen, the retailer's executive chairman. "But the hard fact is that 24-7 has not been growing and represents a significant distraction to management at a time when its focus has to be on the core Somerfield and Kwik Save business." Somerfield started its online business two years ago.



PR and advertising group Chime Communications has agreed to pay £5.8 million for 33 per cent of Web Marketing, the company behind many of those pesky online banner ads. The deal will consist of £4 million cash and around one million Chime shares. Web Marketing was behind the first video banner ads on the Web, for a Peugeot 406.




Scott Svenson, the co-founder of the Seattle Coffee Company, has joined the board of dotcom development and management company eos Internet Ventures.




TeleCity, has finally got its IPO underway. The Internet infrastructure company was to launch today at a fifth below its original asking price. However, shares opened 12.5 per cent above the expected 775p at 872.5p. The launch was originally scheduled for May 23, but was delayed as the dotcom industry took a hammering. The floatation was expected to raise around £120 million to expand the company's business in Europe.




Guardian IT has put in a £70 million bid for UK disaster recovery specialist SafetyNet. The Guardian IT board hopes that the acquisition of SafetyNet will strengthen its position in the European market. It will also gain SafetyNet's sites in Japan and Luxembourg, as well as expanding its presence in Scotland and Manchester. SafetyNet's MD Paul Barry-Walsh said that he would be accepting a senior role at Guardian. ®

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