Online retailer cites the closure of the Low Value Consignment Relief loophole as damaging its retail business to close retail business

The online retailer has announced that it will shut down its direct retail business and become a marketplace only business from March 2013. has cited the closure of the Low Value Consignment Relief loophole in April last year as ultimately leading to the demise of the firm’s retail business.

The LVCR loophole allowed items below £15 to be sold to the UK VAT free.

In the wake of the decision, 147 staff have been made redundant in the firm’s head office in Jersey, in addition to 67 employees in its Cambridge and Bristol offices.

A statement released from says: "Moving forward we are intending to focus exclusively on our successful marketplace, which is our main business area, and to phase out the direct retail part of our business." was sold to Japanese company Rakuten for just £25m in September 2011 and has since seen its dominant online business dwindle.

It would appear that in the current economic climate, nobody is safe, with online retailers such as Play suffering the same fate as High Street rivals.

It’s hard to imagine thriving as a marketplace only business, given its similarity to eBay and the latter’s dominance of the market.

Back in September 2012, the States of Jersey announced that up to 400 people had lost their jobs in Jersey following the end of the LVCR.

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