BlackStar named ‘cream of retailing cyber crop’

BLACKSTAR, Northern Ireland’s leading ‘dotcom’ retailer, has been named as the United Kingdom’s No1 Web site for on-line customer service. BlackStar, a DVD and video retailer, came out top in a survey by Silicon Valley, an independent Internet research company.

The organisation reviewed 100 leading Web sites on more than 200 seperate analysis criteria in the United Kingdom and United States finding only 30 operators in the UK that meet basic standards of assessment.

BlackStar.co.uk, which employs 50 in Belfast, excelled in the survey well beyond its UK competitors and was named ‘Cream of the Cyber Crop’.

It beats conventional retailers like WH Smith and Marks & Spencer along with on-line competitors such as Entex.

Jeremy Glover, co-founder said “When we started BlackStar in 1997, some time before the baby boom of the dotcoms, we primarily set out to be an international retailer of videos and DVDs. “The internet provided the best vehicle for our business concept and that is how the comany was formed and viewed – as a retailer first and Internet business second”.

He added: “This has provided a different set of criteria for BlackStar from the outset and as with any retailer, has ensured that an obsession with customer service is central to our business.

“We shall continue to strive to improve it even further, always maintaining our philosophy that we are retailers first and foremost, and that our customers will always be the ultimate point of focus”.

BlackStar is due to float on the London Stock Exchange in the next six months with an expected valuation of between 200-300m pounds.

The company is at the leading edge of new businesses here which make use of the Internet to trade on an international basis.

The Government is spending more than 3m pounds to persuade new firms and existing businesses to make use of the technology but academics fear the province may be ‘left behind’ as the marketplace moves into cyberspace.

The number of Internet shoppers is expected to rise to four billion by 2004 and the Internet will be available over the mobile telephone after the Government completes a 20bn pound auction for licences to operate the new generation three wireless technology.

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