E-commerce guru to join GUS board

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The Independent Online

Great Universal Stores, the UK's biggest mail order company and owner of Kays catalogues and the Argos chain, has appointed a resident e-commerce guru to beef up its virtual selling activities.

Great Universal Stores, the UK's biggest mail order company and owner of Kays catalogues and the Argos chain, has appointed a resident e-commerce guru to beef up its virtual selling activities.

Michael de Kare-Silver, author of the best selling book "e-shock", has been appointed at board level to a full-time role as director with responsibility for developing e-commerce in the company.

Mr de Kare-Silver said: "I have always admired GUS for its well-established telephone ordering, credit-checking, order- processing and home-delivery systems. The challenge is to leverage the existing resources to create maximum value."

e-shock, which is subtitled "The electronic shopping revolution: strategies for retailers and manufacturers," has sold nearly 15,000 copies and was runner up in the 1998 Management Consultants' Association Business Book of the Year award. The book examines the impact of electronic commerce on the consumer retail sector and provides a framework to help retailers and manufacturing suppliers respond.

In his book, Mr de Kare-Silver praises GUS's electronic infrastructure and suggests that it should offer itself as a partner to other retailers looking to embrace new electronic business systems. He writes: "Alternatively, they [mail order companies such as GUS and Littlewoods] could leverage their own home delivery competencies and establish their own food and other products' home delivery service."

Around 5 per cent of sales in the group's catalogue division are made over the Internet and 90 per cent over the phone.

GUS is a participant in Open, the UK interactive television service venture between BSkyB, British Telecom, HSBC and Matsushita.

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