May the iForce be with you in Brand New world

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The Independent Online

EBay, the online auction company, is planning a new service for manufacturers who are stuck with goods such as jewellery, phones and gardening equipment, that they cannot sell.

The new service, called Brand New, is a joint venture with iForce, a British based e-fulfilment centre which handles deliveries for companies including lastminute.com, Sony and Nokia, and will allow manufacturers to auction off the goods. "This is a new retail channel for new products that have fallen out of the typical retail routes," said Matthew Peacock, iForce's chief executive.

The venture, which will be launched next month, follows on from the success eBay and iForce achieved through selling stolen goods for police forces.

India Foxtrot – the joint initiative – has been auctioning lost and seized goods for 14 regional police forces since the beginning of the year.

The goods, which have included a Jaguar XJ6, a Kawasaki motorbike, a skeleton, bolt cutters and "hundreds of bicycles" would have originally been auctioned locally. The cash received for the goods has increased fourfold since the arrival of the site, said iForce.

"We have exposed all of these things to a much larger audience through eBay," said Mr Peacock.

The Brand New initiative, which is already live in Germany and is being trialled in this country before its launch, hopes to return the same increase to manufacturers.

iForce organises the collection, cataloguing, warehousing and distribution of the goods and eBay handles the auction. "We have given corporates the opportunity to outsource this," said Mr Peacock.

The service will be rolled out in Spain later this year and will then expand into Sweden and Italy.

The company is also considering how best to take its concept to the lost-and-found departments in airports, hotels and Government organisations and is planning to launch a service for small and medium-sized businesses at the beginning of next year.

"Our belief is that it is going to be a very big business very quickly," said Mr Peacock.

iForce, which makes money by charging commission – thought to be around 20 per cent – was founded in 1998 and has more than 250,000sq ft of warehouse space.

The firm opened a factory in the West Midlands at the beginning of the year and already has 200 employees. They expect to break even next year.

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