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WHSmith launches dedicated entertainment site

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WHSmith has launched a new website, WHSmithEntertainment.co.uk, offering music, games, DVDs and consoles plus a range of electronics and computing accessories.

“The aim is to offer an immediate entertainment range for our online customers and we will continue to review how we develop the offer,” a spokesperson has told Retail Week, which also reports on a generally negative reaction by analysts to the new site:

Numis analyst Nick Coulter said the website launch was “odd” as WHSmith has been committed to reducing its entertainment lines.

He said: “Part of its cost savings have come from taking entertainment products off the shopfloor. But it’s sensible to preserve some sort of scale in entertainment. And if you already have a supply chain it would take very little effort to have a strong web presence.”

The website has been marketed via an email campaign and is also accessed via a click-through button from its Whsmith.co.uk site, which sells products such as books and stationery.

Nielsen Online analyst Alex Burmaster said: “Entertainment online is experiencing quite strong growth. This move makes sense if things aren’t working in store.”

However, he added that it is “surprising” that a retailer would choose to create a separate site. He said: “It has the potential to confuse customers. Transferring customers to another site does not pay off in the long term.”

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