January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Loss For Webvan

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Online grocery delivery service provider Webvan Group Inc. is reporting a second-quarter loss of $57.1 million versus a loss of $38.7 million for the same period last year. The Foster City, Calif.-based firm says its revenues grew to $28.3 million from $16.3 million since last year. The company says its active customer accounts exceeded 160,000 as of June 30, an increase of more than 84% from the 87,000 active customers reported at the close of first-quarter 2000. Repeat orders represented 76% of total orders during the second quarter. Average order size for the recently completed quarter was approximately $91. Increases in average order size in the San Francisco Bay Area were offset by lower average order sizes in new markets in Atlanta and Sacramento, Webvan says.

The company also recently agreed to acquire rival firm HomeGrocer Inc., Kirkland, Wash., in a $1 billion stock deal that is expected to help lower the company's expansion costs.

Freetailer's features include 25 megabytes of storage space, which enables placement of thousands of different types of products; 1 gigabyte per month of bandwidth to serve a large numbers of customers; the ability to showcase unlimited products in an e-tail store, all of which will automatically be searchable within the Excite shopping services; customized storefronts and logos; a virtual cash register, shopping cart and e-wallet feature that stores a customer's credit card information; secure order management and real-time reporting of customer orders and order/visit statistics within a secure online back office; and sales and marketing tips and services offered via a merchant resource center.

A variety of commerce upgrades, most of which can be ordered and enabled in real-time, are available at www.freetailer.com in an online upgrade zone. Such upgrades include domain name registration, POP e-mail accounts, a credit card merchant account and a payment gateway. Other options include integrated advertising programs, expanded search capability, extended FTP capability, additional disk storage space and extra bandwidth, says the company.

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