WH Smith freezes trading platform

High street newsagent WH Smith is scaling down its Connect2U Internet trading platform, despite spending millions on its...

High street newsagent WH Smith is scaling down its Connect2U Internet trading platform, despite spending millions on its implementation.

Connect2U, which runs on SAP software, provides newsagents with account data and delivery information from WH Smith's news distribution division.

WH Smith had hoped to expand the platform to include as many as 45,000 retailers from the confectionary, tobacco, food and soft drink industries. However, the company said it would be writing down its investment in Connect2U, as a result of increasing losses. "We have taken the view that earnings generated from this venture will be virtually zero," a spokesman told CW360.com

Speaking to Computer Weekly at the beginning of the year, Gordon Seabright, business development manager at WH Smith News, said Connect2U aimed "to give individual newsagents more control over their business".

The plan was to have both Connect2U and SAP implemented throughout all WH Smiths depots in the summer. Some 8,000 users were expected to be using the system by the end of this year.

However, Connect2U has been riddled with problems. The platform came under fire last year when newsagents blamed delivery problems on the SAP rollout in WH Smith's delivery and distribution depots.

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