Online reseller Dabs.com is dipping its toes into the European market.
The firm last week launched a French business, which it expects to post turnover of about 25m euros and achieve a profit in its first financial year. At present, the French business offers 2,300 lines, but this will expand to 7,000 by the end of its first year.
Dave Atherton, managing director of Dabs, identified his main competition in France as large retailers, including supermarkets such as D'Arty, Leclerc and Carrefour, as well as specialist electrical retailers such as FNAC.
"The French market is underserved - there is neither supply of nor demand for mail order," said Atherton.
Goods will be shipped to France from Dabs's Bolton warehouse. "Just as it costs exactly the same to send a letter within the EU as within the UK, it costs the same to ship small packages. So we can offer the same postage in France as we can in the UK for many stock items," Atherton said.
He added that the firm is looking at launching in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and possibly Australia.
"The French market is a bit cut-throat," said Keith Humphreys, managing consultant at EuroLAN Research. "I think Dabs is brave, but it appears to have done its research. Online retailers will find life easier than bricks-and-mortar equivalents, if the technology is accepted by users."
Dabs spent a reported £1m on overhauling its web site, and part of the overhaul appears to have been to prepare the site for conversion to French.
Dabs bought French software reseller SOS Developers in February last year.
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