Somerfield has shown its determination to be a major player in home
shopping by acquiring a London-based business for pounds 3.25m.
The supermarket chain, which is still in the process of merging its
operation with Kwik Save, has bought out Supermarket Direct, which
trades under the name of Flanagans and has a customer base of 10,000
with sales in excess of pounds 4m per year.
Flanagans operates out of a warehouse in south London and has a
dedicated call centre for taking orders.
This will be integrated with Somerfield’s own home-shopping activities -
until now based in Bristol and the South West - and managed as a
separate business division called Somerfield Direct.
Flanagans founder Dominick Scott-Flanagan and his partner David Noble
will join the Somerfield Direct board, which will be chaired by
Somerfield finance director Martin Gatto. Phil Smith, Somerfield group
marketing director, also joins the board.
The chain hopes to challenge Iceland’s lead in the home-shopping
A spokeswoman said that, by the end of April, Somerfield will have the
second biggest home-delivery fleet in the country after Iceland, but
with the advantage of carrying a bigger range.
The aim is to develop a network of warehouses throughout the
Customers will be able to order products by telephone or fax, and
Somerfield will also extend its web site, on which customers can
currently order wine and flowers, to take orders for the full range of
However, it believes that the main opportunity for home shopping will
come from interactive television. In August, Somerfield Direct will
begin trading on BIB’s interactive service, Open.
The spokeswoman said: ’We believe that the way forward for home shopping
will be via TV. Most people do not have a computer at home, although the
internet may be popular for office shopping.’