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Play.com is closing down

18 August 2014 - 11:59 by Mike Price

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This month it was announced that Play.com, one of the UK's leading online retailers, would be retiring from the market. However, this is not the end for the firm because its Japanese owner is simply relaunching it in a new guise early in 2015.

Play.com was founded in 1998 as an outlet primarily targeted at selling DVDs to consumers via safe shopping online, competing with the likes of Amazon and eventually becoming one of the nation's favourite e-commerce outlets.

It was taken over by Rakuten and became a subsidiary, with the Play.com brand now being phased out as its parent firm looks to consolidate its own name in the UK.

While Play.com may be winding down as a domain for e-commerce, it will be overhauled and revived under the Rakuten.co.uk moniker.

One thing that this consolidation means is that buyers from across the globe will be able to enjoy a more seamless, smooth experience, even if they are looking to purchase items which are being sold by a Rakuten marketplace user in a different country.

The UK is already a preferred destination for international buyers who want to shop online with a reputable retailer. So when the Rakuten.co.uk site is launched in 2015, it will definitely attract attention both at home and further afield.

At this point, it is unclear whether existing accounts with Play.com will be migrated to Rakuten.co.uk, but this would definitely be a sensible manoeuvre for the retailer, since it will give it a solid user base from which it can pursue further sales growth.

In the meantime, Play.com will continue to sell items to consumers up until the end of the year, although it is no longer accepting any more sellers on its marketplace, which is something to keep in mind.