Play.com closes direct retail business to become marketplace-only
Jersey-based online retailer Play.com has announced that in March it will shut down its retail business to become a marketplace-only, meaning it will no longer sell directly to consumers. Play.com said the decision came following the end of Low Value Consignment Relief in April 2012, which allowed items less than £15 to be sold to the UK VAT-free. As a result of the move, 147 staff in Jersey will be made redundant as well as 67 in its Cambridge and Bristol offices. In a statement Play.com said: "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." A spokesperson also confirmed that about 200 staff would be left in the restructured company, which will be based in Cambridge. In September 2011, Play.com was taken over by Japanese e-commerce operator Rakuten. It paid £25m for the company, which at the time had 14 million registered users and was one of the largest online retailers in the UK.