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MyWebGrocer announced that is has completed the acquisition of Buy4Now’s US operations, and will operate Buy4Now as a subsidiary. The move will add Buy4Now’s US clients, including A&P, Roche Brothers Lunds/Byerly’s and New Seasons Markets, to the MyWebGrocer stable of retailers, which includes include Shoprite, Lowes Food Stores, Big Y, Food Lion and 90 other grocery chains.

Buy4Now was founded in 2000 in Ireland with the backing of shareholders such as Superquinn, Heitons, and Eircom; the company’s non-US operations will remain independent.

"The combination of MyWebGrocer and Buy4Now is a perfect match of complimentary companies,” said Rich Tarrant, CEO of MyWebGrocer. “The Buy4now e-commerce application is perfect for those retailers looking for a fully customized solution offered through a traditional software license model. Those retailers using the Buy4Now applications will have the benefit and access to the many other solutions provided by MyWebGrocer that will be integrated into the e-commerce platform - including interactive circulars, email services, and our recipe engine. As a further benefit to both companies clients, this merger ads to the overall consumer traffic on our Advertising Network which is a significant new revenue source for all retailers.”

KC's View:
I met Rich Tarrant a long time ago, when MyWebGrocer was pretty much just starting out and there were a lot of people dubious about the whole future of e-commerce. Since then, there have been a lot of potholes and business failures in the Internet sector, but it seems like MyWebGrocer continues to grow and expand – proving that the e-grocery sector has a lot of life left in it.

Good for them.

It’s interesting. There was a story on the other day noting how “if there’s a last bastion of merchants that have yet to embrace e-commerce, it’s the big chain grocers.” The story pointed out that “Kroger and Supervalu aren’t embracing e-commerce. Other e-commerce holdouts include Publix Super Markets Inc., with $23 billion in annual sales, and Delhaize America Inc. and H.E. Butt Grocery Co., with annual sales of $18.2 billion and $13.4 billion, respectively.

“Of the big national grocery chains only two – Royal Ahold NV, which owns and operates, No. 41 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, and Safeway Inc. (No. 84) – have a substantial presence online.”

However, if I’m not mistaken, both Delhaize and Publix flirted with the online grocery business, but pulled out more than a few years ago. They got burned.

It probably isn’t going too far out on a limb to suggest that eventually, these holdouts will find an e-commerce model that works for them. They’re too smart to ignore the fact that an entire generation of shoppers is coming along that prefers to shop online whenever possible…and at least wants that to be a choice.

Kudos to those companies – big and small – that are working this channel.

It is the old MNB mantra – the modern shopper wants what he/she wants, when he/she wants it, where he/she wants it, how he/she wants it, at a price he/she believes is appropriate.

A bit of full disclosure here…MyWebGrocer has been a longtime sponsor and supporter of MNB…though that didn’t seem like a good reason not to report this story and say nice things about the company.