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Barclays to shut down Shopsmart

28 November 2002  |  3339 views  |  0 Barclays HO

Barclaycard is to close its online shopping comparison site Shopsmart at the end of the year, marking another embarrassing retreat by the bank from the e-commerce arena.

Shopsmart was acquired for £1 million last year and merged with Indigo Square, the now-defunct online mall created by Barclaycard and Nomura in a £30 million joint venture. Barclays dispensed with the Indigo Square brand shortly after and spent a further £10 million on marketing in a bid to increase Shopsmart's share of Web traffic.

A spokesman for the bank says that the site has struggled to maintain its relevance against the increasing dominance of large price-cutting e-tailers such as Amazon. He says Barclaycard is refocussing its e-commerce efforts on areas where it can add real value, such as online account servicing and e-payments.

The closure will result in a number of job losses, "fewer than ten", says the spokesperson. He adds that Barclaycard is negotiating a deal to divert traffic to a third party site.

The demise of Shopsmart brings to an end another expensive episode in Barclays' misadventures on the Web. In July, the bank also pulled the plug on its business-to-business e-commerce venture Barclays B2B.

Barclays' retreat from the space comes just as high street rival Halifax prepares to launch its own shopping comparison site in a deal with DealTime.co.uk.

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