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Tesco to sell fashion and food from single website

Tesco has pledged to provide a full online clothing offer and launch a combined food and fashion website, after temporarily closing its fashion site.
The supermarket first trialled online clothing sales via special offers in 2006. This was followed by a wider soft launch five months ago. However, it temporarily stopped selling clothing online this week to assess the performance of the ecommerce business to date.

Tesco chief executive for clothing and hard lines Terry Green said the retailer needed time to move from soft launch to full trial, but insisted Tesco was “100% committed” to offering clothing online. “We’re assessing the trial to schedule an official live date,” he said.

Separately, chief executive Laura Wade-Gery said the retailer planned to combine food and fashion into one website. “We’ve established via the trial that our shoppers want to buy clothing online,” she told Drapers. “We’re now looking at the most efficient way of doing that. The aim is to get everything on the same site.”

A combined site could help Tesco to raise customers’ online clothing spend per basket, which is one of the biggest challenges for value retailers launching online.

Rivals George at Asda and Sainsbury’s Tu are yet to launch transactional fashion websites, although Asda has plans to do so this year.
One retail analyst said Tesco could not ignore the web. “Tesco needs to make sure its online offer is profitable, but I can’t imagine it would back out completely,” she said. “Growth is slowing and the initial excitement of supermarkets selling clothing has gone, but online is a major channel now with so much clothing bought from it.”

Tesco’s clothing market share by volume for the year to February rose to 9.3%, against 8.2% for the year to April 2007.

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