Play.com to stop selling directly and become a marketplace instead

Online retailer Play.com is to stop selling goods directly to the public. It will no longer sell its own goods and instead will act as a marketplace for other retailers to sell their wares.

Play.com Logo

Play.com Logo

Play, which is owned by the Japanese retailer Rakuten, will no longer be selling directly to the public. Instead of being a shop, it will simply turn into a place where you buy stuff from other companies.

Play.com has decided to stop selling directly with the closure of Low Value Consignment Relief, a pre-Internet tax provision that waived VAT for goods that cost less than £15. As the era of online shopping dawned, the likes of Play and Amazon took advantage of LVCR — originally designed to speed delivery and simplify tax collection — by setting up in the Channel Islands and selling products like CDs and DVDs free of VAT, dramatically lowering prices. Which of course, enabled us to get all the music and films we loved on the cheap.

Up until the LVCR loophole was closed in April last year, the absence of VAT meant Jersey-based sites like Play could offer much cheaper CDs, DVDs and other goods than retailers on the British mainland that were stuck with VAT. No wonder Virgin Megastores, Music Zone and Fopp have all sunk into the financial abyss in the Internet age.

Play.com stops selling direct in March. 147 staff will lose their jobs in Jersey, with another 67 out of a job on the mainland.

Do you think that this will mean the end of cheaper DVD’s from other retailers like Amazon? Is the era of cheap films and music all over and we will now revert back to normal prices? Let us know below in the comments or even head over to our Facebook page to get involved.