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Retail Week has reported that Neil Ashworth, Tesco’s supply chain director in the UK, has offered some prognostications about the directions likely to be taken by the retailer’s website in the future:

• Creating an integrated environment so that grocery and nonfood sales can be made in the same transaction, something that cannot happen now because groceries and nonfood items actually are sold from different websites.

• Developing a platform that is less dependent on the traditional PC environment. Ashworth says that eight out of 10 online Tesco customers have broadband access, and that they are quickly shifting to web-enabled mobile phones and even using the Internet to watch television. All of this means that traditional access methods may shift, and that Tesco needs to be prepared to appeal to these shoppers.

Ashworth projected that as the next generation of consumers increasingly moves to the Internet for food shopping – just as they already use the web for much of their other shopping – online retail sales could account for as much as 25 percent of Tesco’s business in the next five years.

KC's View:
At first blush, 25 percent sounds like a projection left over from the first Internet bubble. But maybe not. I’ve seen Tesco’s online grocery operation in action, and there is little doubt in my mind that this number seems achievable.