Online retailer Play.com is to shut down its retail business to become a marketplace-only, from March. The Jersey-based firm blamed the move on the ending of Low Value Consignment Relief, which allowed items less than £15 to be sold to the UK VAT-free. All 147 staff in Jersey are to be made redundant as well as 67 in its Cambridge and Bristol offices. Play.com will now become more like a shopping centre, no longer selling directly to customers.
Just to be clear, this doesn’t mean that Play.com is closing, just that it is ending its direct retail business. The Play Marketplace will continue to operate as usual.
Play.com was bought by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten (JSD:4755) in 2011. The company was aggressive on the international stage in 2012. It’s other notable setback came back in April when the company shut down Rakuten.cn, its joint venture with Baidu.