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Buy4Now hits profitability and looks abroad
Monday, May 20 2002
by Matthew Clark

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Irish on-line retailer Buy4Now has announced its first profitable quarter ahead of expectations, as the firm sets its sights on the international stage.

Buy4Now, which operates the Web site buy4now.ie, said on Monday that it had an operating profit for the first quarter of 2002 of EUR1,473. While the figure was relatively small, the firm pointed out that it had in fact reached operational profitability two quarters before it planned to do so.

"We have proven that you can actually do it (become profitable) in the market," explained Ali Murdoch, chief executive of Buy4Now, to ElectricNews.Net. "Buy4Now met all of its business goals for the year and achieved its first profitable quarter, six months ahead of the original business plan," he added.

Murdoch went on to say that for the upcoming year, the company is forecasting profits after re-investment in the region of EUR100,000. For the following year the company is looking to reach EUR500,000 in operational profits from its on-line retail business. "We see massive growth in the next 12 months for the on-line business," Murdoch said.

Buy4Now also said that adjusted turnover in its on-line business was up by 85 percent on the year to EUR11.1 million for the 12-month period to March 2002.

Buy4Now's losses for the 2001-2002 year came to EUR548,000, which included considerable investments in once-off software development in the region of EUR250,000. But this too beat the firm's budgeted loss of EUR730,000 for the period.

Other important figures showed that the Irish B2C Internet retailer saw its site traffic triple over the last year, with an average of 200,000 visits per month and 2.5 million page impressions, "positioning Buy4Now as one of Ireland's leading B2C sites alongside Ryanair.com and PaddyPower.com."

Currently 18 stores trade on Buy4Now's Web sites and the business plans to add new retail stores to the Buy4Now family over the next year. AIB Bank has become latest entrant to the company's list of clients and partners, a list that include well-established retailers such as Superquinn, Easons, Atlantic Homecare and Arnotts Department Store.

Importantly, the company announced a new plan that will also see it enter the international market with the support of Enterprise Ireland. Buy4Now, which has developed its own technology in-house, is now attempting to remodel its core software so that it can be sold internationally to other companies looking to establish similar types of businesses. Enterprise Ireland is supporting the company's EUR1.1 million scheme by offering Buy4Now a 30 percent subsidy on the cost of re-developing its software.

Buy4Now's business is based on what is described as the in-store-based picking model, which means that the company does not maintain a warehouse where it keeps its inventory. Instead it collects goods from actual retail locations to deliver to consumers, a model that it expects will be popular in other markets. "The downturn has actually created a gap in the market for what we can offer," explained Murdoch. "It's been proven that the warehouse model doesn't really work." Buy4Now will target possible customers in Europe and in the US to sell its software to once the re-development plan is completed.

Currently Buy4Now employs 40 in Ireland and can be found at http://www.buy4now.ie.

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