Boo.com Gets a New Life Under Fashionmall.com

NEW YORK (08/02/2000) - Fashionmall.com Inc. plans to launch a revamped Boo.com site in phases early this fall, company executives told a gathering at the eTail 2000 conference.

But the new Boo.com will operate differently than the original London-based retailer. Boo.com ran short of cash in May, when investors decided to pull the plug on the ambitious, global online fashion store.

New York-based Fashionmall.com bought only the trademarks, the Web addresses and the content and has no plans to carry any inventory or to operate a distribution center. Instead, the company will form strategic partnerships with manufacturers or retailers and let the online storefront serve as a portal for the "cool" products that Boo.com attempted to sell, said Ben Narasin, CEO of FashionMall.com.

When the new Boo.com site launches, visitors will find an array of products for sale. And if they click on a product image to buy an item, they will be linked to the site of the manufacturer or retailer of the product, officials said.

Purchases will be aggregated into one shopping cart, but if customers buy items from several vendors, they will receive multiple shipments in the mail.

"We believe that our customers most keenly value having access to wonderful products, and on the fulfillment side, as long as they're receiving products on time in quality packaging with no shortages, the objection to receiving multiple packages from vendors will be minimal," said Catherine Buggeln, the new president of Boo.com.

Buggeln, 39, officially joined Boo.com on Monday. She most recently worked as an executive vice president in charge of business strategy at LakeWest Group, a retail management consulting company in Cleveland. Prior to that, she spent two years as a director at Rye, N.Y.,-based Melville Corp., an $11 billion multichain retailer that owns CVS Corp., Marshalls Inc., Linens 'N' Things, Thom McAnn and K-B Toys before a company restructuring resulted in a focus on CVS.

Buggeln's concern won't extend to the technology that Boo.com used.

BrightStation PLC acquired Boo.com's technology in May. Plans call for the London-based company to offer a package of services and products to help companies establish global e-commerce businesses, according to Robin Kearon, senior vice president of strategic alliances at BrightStation.

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