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Pigs will Fly on Internet SuperSite

Pigs will Fly on Internet SuperSite

Pacific Retail, Advantage and Whitcoulls Team in Startup Venture


Auckland - 18 October 1999 - FlyingPig.co.nz, New Zealand's first Internet SuperSite, goes live next month. Leading retail company Pacific Retail Group, owner of Noel Leeming, Bond & Bond, Computer City and PRG Finance, and e-commerce company Advantage Group will take a majority interest in the Internet startup. The venture, also backed by Whitcoulls, is the first time that traditional retailers have joined with an e-commerce company to invest in an online channel in New Zealand.

Pacific Retail and Advantage have agreed to take 40% and 25% shareholdings respectively in Orion Ventures Ltd, which will plan, build, stock and manage FlyingPig.co.nz.

"FlyingPig.co.nz is a great name on which to build an online company," says Orion CEO Adam Keller. "It implies that anything's possible."

"It's a SuperSite. When customers come to FlyingPig.co.nz, everything is available under the one roof, like an Internet department store. This isn't like a cybermall or portal, where the site is like a gateway to other sites."

FlyingPig.co.nz is in the process of acquiring content and testing for launch in late November in time for Christmas trading. The site will launch with one million book titles and New Zealand's largest range of videos, software and home/office stationery, sourced from New Zealand, the US and the UK. Music, computers, computer peripherals, electronics, appliances and a range of other goods and services such as consumer finance, sharebroking and insurance will quickly follow. FlyingPig.co.nz is also in discussions with a number of other premier brands, both locally and internationally.

"The customer is king, and nowhere more so than on the Internet," says Keller. "As a retail site, FlyingPig.co.nz will aggregate content and information from many sources and sell a wide range of online products and services. Our initial agreement with Whitcoulls lays the basis of the site, and we will partner with other offline retailers in other categories."

Advantage Group's E-Commerce Division has developed the online retail SuperSite for FlyingPig.co.nz, leveraging its expertise in transaction-based e-commerce applications. Advantage has also completed the integration of the retail SuperSite to the back office systems of key suppliers.

Evan Christian, Chairman, Advantage Group, says "We see substantial opportunities in the business-to-consumer e-commerce space and believe FlyingPig.co.nz is well positioned to take advantage of these. FlyingPig.co.nz has moved fast to secure powerful license agreements, technological expertise, distribution systems and other intellectual property. It also has talented and committed management in Stefan Preston, who has been appointed Chairman, and CEO Adam Keller."

FlyingPig.co.nz is modelled on a new generation of retail sites, coupling online and offline retail expertise in a stand-alone venture to offer consumers new forms of retailing. The selection will be very broad, but the service highly individual. FlyingPig.co.nz will be a full-service online retailer, providing dynamic content that it serves up based on a customer's previous preferences and choices.

"We are very positive about licensing the Whitcoulls brand to this venture and participating as an investment partner," says Mike Ferrand, Blue Star Consumer Retailing Group CEO. "We have confidence in the people and partners involved and believe this is the optimal way to harness the power of the Internet to our brand."

The site will also benefit from Advantage's experience in secure online credit card payments as well as its sophisticated customer loyalty programmes.

"This isn't just about information aggregation or technology. Those are simply the tools that are used to deliver a new and compelling customer experience," says Keller. "At heart this is about using a new channel to make shopping more satisfying, more personal and more rewarding. As retailers, we understand what consumers want and use Internet technology to deliver the experience. There are five reasons why people shop online: broader choice, on-demand availability, search and selection tools, lower costs and better value. FlyingPig.co.nz will offer them all."

ENDS

Backgrounds
Stefan Preston is presently Executive Director of Pacific Retail Group. He was formerly General Manager, Whitcoulls Group.

Adam Keller has senior management experience in the Price Club, the Burbank Hilton Hotel and a United States Postal Service and Goldman Sachs backed kiosk venture.

Company Backgrounds
Pacific Retail Group is an NZSE listed appliance, electronics and computer retailer with approximately 100 branches and sales of over $350 million.

Advantage Group is an NZSE-listed company specialising in end-to-end e-commerce solutions delivered to customers throughout the Southern Hemisphere.

Whitcoulls is New Zealand's largest retailer of books, stationery and video with over 100 branches and sales of $200 million.

Orion Ventures is a business-to-consumer e-commerce company offering New Zealand customers a wide range of products and services.

For more information, please contact:

Stefan Preston, FlyingPig.co.nz, +64 21 685 920.

Adam Keller, FlyingPig.co.nz, +64 21 701 019.

Allan Botica, Botica Conroy and Associates, +64 9 303 3862, +64 21 400 500, allanb@bca.co.nz.


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