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Axing telephone sales and mail-order catalogues in favour of internet-based ordering has proved a master stroke for the computer retailer Founded by David Atherton and Bruce Smith as an IT publishing firm in 1987, it changed direction three years later when it started selling computers and other electronic goods by mail order. Switching to a web-based ordering system in 1999 cut operating costs. It says it now processes 100,000 customer orders a month and reported sales of £197m in 2004.

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Company details
ActivityOnline IT retailer
Sales £m197
Operating profit £m5.5
Main shareholdersDavid Atherton (100%)

If applicable:

* supplied by Company   † annualised figure   ‡  profit = ebitda