Telecom shuts web shopping site

Telecom's foray into online shopping with the Ferrit website is over.

The telecommunications company is closing the site launched in 2005. Telecom did not say how much it invested in the business, which advertised extensively on television. Also see: Ferrit's gone, is AAPT next?

Ferrit was seen as pet project of former chief executive Theresa Gattung, and as a bid by the telecommunications giant to be entrepreneurial in online business.

Telecom said today that the break-even point for the business had shifted out a number of years due to the current tough retail environment.

"Telecom's aim in launching Ferrit was to help develop New Zealand's online retail market," said Alan Gourdie, Telecom's retail chief executive.

"Since 2005 we've seen a growth in retail adoption of online with many retail players adopting e-commerce and web capabilities."

Telecom is advising its retail partners individually of its decision. Ferrit will stop taking online orders on Wednesday at 5pm but will continue to direct visitors to the retailers' own websites from

Journalists based across the road from the Ferrit offices in Auckland during the set up phase had a good view of the busy emerging new business. Ferrit staff's ability to play ball games while speaking on mobile phones was envied.

Telecom would look to redeploy Ferrit staff to other parts of Telecom.

Telecom said it wanted to focus on its core services.