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Play.com to close retail arm

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Online entertainment retailer Play.com has today announced the closure of its retail arm as it focuses on becoming a marketplace-only operator, a move which will cause hundreds of job losses.

As part of a company restructure, the phasing out of the retail business will make 147 employees from its Finance and Warehouse teams based in Jersey redundant by March 31st 2013.

A further 67 permanent and temporary staff at Play’s Cambridge and Bristol offices will also face redundancy and the Jersey-based retailer blamed the removal of Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR), which allowed shipments of low value entering the UK from the EU and Channel Islands VAT relief, for the move.

A statement from Play.com said: “Following a strategic review of our business operations we have today announced a company restructure.

“Moving forward we are intending to focus exclusively on our successful Marketplace, which is our main business area, and to phase out the direct retail part of our business.

“The removal of LVCR implemented in April 2012 has been the determining factor in this decision. As a result, we will be entering into consultation with staff on the proposed changes.

“We would like to reassure our customers that they can continue to shop with us, purchase from an expanding range of products, and still receive the great quality of service they have come to expect.”

Play.com was sold to Japan-based online services firm Rakuten in September 2011 for £25 million, a sum which caused experts concern over its profitability given the intense competition from the likes of rival Amazon.

Published on Wednesday 09 January by Editorial Assistant

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