Jobs go after LetsBuyIt axes Swedish operation

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Letsbuyit.com put its Swedish operation into bankruptcy yesterday in a move that will eliminate 30 jobs in the region but potentially see the internet retailer through to profitability.

The troubled company, which was once one of the leading lights of the internet with a workforce of about 450, will be left with five people in the UK and 20 staff in Munich, Germany.

John Palmer, the company's founder and chief executive, said: "We have reviewed every possible option and believe that the measures taken will not only ensure that LetsBuyIt.com continues to grow, but also that it reaches profitability sooner than observers had expected."

The company, which is listed on Germany's Neuer Markt, said its Swedish operation had "significant liabilities" – believed to be about €4m (£2.4m). LetsBuyIt currently has sales of about €1m a month and is expected to become profitable towards the end of 2002. In addition, the company said yesterday that its two-strong supervisory board, comprising Lothar Lanz and Frank Verschoor, would be replaced by Mr Palmer.

LetsBuyIt, which floated in July of 2000, sought the Dutch equivalent of Chapter 11 protection in December of the same year. A €52m rescue fundraising and major restructuring, however, enabled it to make a comeback, although it has since been beset by disaster.

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