News UK is moving into the online retail business after buying gifts website Handpicked.
The upmarket website selects its wares with the help of an expert panel which includes a number of journalists.
News UK said in a statement: “The Handpicked Collection will continue to target its existing consumer markets but the acquisition means that its offers will reach an even wider audience as it is promoted through The Times and The Sunday Times to the loyal and trusting readers of these renowned titles.
“Research from TGI shows that 2.7 million of the titles’ readers bought online in the past six months and over a fifth of readers of The Times and The Sunday Times make non-grocery purchases online at least once a week.
“News UK titles have traditionally driven performance of retail businesses and are now looking to own the retail relationship with their readers in order to join the growing media-tailing trend.”
News UK chief executive Mike Darcey said: “World class journalism will always be at the heart of the News UK offering, but as part of our business development strategy we are eager to seek out opportunities to deliver added value to our loyal readers.”
Handpicked has staff of 20 and a multi-million pound turnover. The purchase price has not been disclosed.