Under the terms of the deal, Amazon Services Europe--a new subsidiary--will host and provide the technology behind Marks & Spencer's Web site, as well as the company's in-store and telephone ordering and customer services systems. However, the London-based retailer will remain responsible for the management of the site. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
During the first phase of the project, slated for completion in summer 2006, the companies plan to build an integrated ordering system.
Marks & Spencer executives said the Amazon pact will allow the British retailer to remain more focused on its core operations. They cited the fact that their Web site already attracts more than 24 million visits every year as proof that the company is already successful online.
For, the deal adds another major name to the growing list of customers of its e-commerce services. The deal also represents Amazon's entry into the European retail services market. During the last several years, Amazon Services has won similar Web-hosting and e-commerce technology agreements with companies such as , CD Now, Target and Toys "R" Us.
As part of the deal, Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Services Europe, which will be based in Luxembourg.