July 3, 2003, 12:00 AM

UK-based IwantOneofThose.com targets U.S. sales

The British retailer of unusual gifts and gadgets has introduced online sales and delivery services to the U.S. to coincide with the Fourth of July holiday, as it projects $15 million in overall sales this year.

Displaying a noticeable bit of British humor, London-based I Want One of Those Ltd. has invaded the U.S. market in time for the Independence Day holiday. It promises deliveries that arrive at U.S. destinations within 2 to 5 business days for any of its collection of unusual gifts and gadgets purchased through IwantOneofThose.com. "We expect to get about 10% of our orders from the U.S.," co-founder and managing director David Booth tells InternetRetailer.com.

With the motto, "Stuff you don`t need but you really, really want," IwantOneofThose.com attracts more than 100,000 weekly visitors, the retailer says. Its 400 products, ranging from a £19.99 kit for taking DNA samples to a book-size £349 DVD player, are offered in categories such as consumer electronics, toys and games, office, outdoor life and kitchen utensils.

Founded in 2000, I Want One of Those also mails 2 million print catalogs yearly for the U.K. market in four seasonal editions. Combined online and catalog sales are projected to hit $15 million this year, up more than 60% from $9.3 million last year. Sales usually run 70% web and 30% catalog, with a higher percentage of catalog sales during holiday shopping seasons. To help promote sales in U.S., the retailer is offering a 10% discount to U.S. customers through July 7.

The British retailer is following a similar course taken by U.S.-based Sharper Image Corp., which has small but growing online sales of unusual gifts and electronics products to the U.K. and several other foreign markets. Sharper Image operates separate sites in each market`s local currency. Although I Want One of Those currently operates a single web site with all prices marked only in British pounds, its site provides a currency converter tool to let shoppers see the cost of products in U.S. dollars. Later this year, the British retailer plans to re-launch its site to show prices in both British pounds and U.S. dollars, Booth says.

Mark Johnson, operations director, says U.S. customers receive an e-mailed order confirmation within two hours of placing an order. I Want One of Those fulfills orders from the UK. Customers can track shipments on the web site, he adds. Shipments are handled through British Royal Mail, the U. S. Postal Service and FedEx Corp.

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