Argos to launch mobile net shop

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Great Universal Stores is set to defy the gloom surrounding internet shopping and WAP phones by launching a mobile internet shopping site for Argos.

Great Universal Stores is set to defy the gloom surrounding internet shopping and WAP phones by launching a mobile internet shopping site for Argos.

The retailer is tight-lipped about its plans, but sources close to the company revealed that the site will be called "Argos Anywhere" and launched in the months ahead.

The internet domain names of argosanywhere.com and argosanywhere.co.uk have already been registered.

Under the plan, shoppers will be able to buy anything from kettles to keep-fit equipment on internet-enabled mobile phones.

The move will raise eyebrows among rival retailers that have struggled with huge losses on internet shopping sites and the tremendous disappointment of WAP phones.

However, senior executives at GUS are convinced Argos Anywhere will be a success story. While not heavily publicised, Argos.co.uk, the company's online shopping site, is one of the most heavily used of its type in the UK.

Argos already sells mobile phones in its shops, and it is thought that one plan under consideration is to preinstall Argos Anywhere software on new handsets.

The news follows fresh doubts voiced over the future of Breathe, the mobile internet service provider that GUS bought for £1.4m in January.

Many analysts believe GUS bought the company from the administrators for its technology and not its 400,000-strong customer base.

It is understood that Breathe, headed by Sean Gardner, has submitted a fresh business plan to GUS's board, and a final decision on whether to keep Breathe running will be made in the next two weeks.

If GUS decides to cut off the oxygen, it could sell off the customer base and use Breathe's technology to run Argos Anywhere.

While often regarded as "downmarket", Argos has become a success story. In GUS's last half-year results, Argos showed an 11 per cent increase in like-for-like sales while home shopping was down 5 per cent.

Comments