WPP to launch end-to-end online retail business Everymile

WPP is pushing e-commerce further with a new division – Everymile – which will not only build and run web businesses for clients, but also deliver the products.

CEO Mark Read told The Sunday Times over the weekend: “We’ve grown into a large commerce business, we’ve seen the opportunity to expand beyond just building websites to a solution for end-to-end solution that is no different from what THG does.

THG, formerly The Hut group, is a collection of online brands that leases its technology to other brands as part of its Ingenuity technology division.

Everymile will be led by chief financial officer John Rogers (above) and his former colleague at Argos, chief digital officer Mark Steel. It makes sense that WPP would hire high-profile Rogers – who would apparently earn more than Read – if he steers WPP in a new direction.

The danger in the past for advertising groups is that when they spread their wings, they sometimes peel off. At the time, Saatchi and Saatchi caused a storm of derision when they said they wanted to buy Midland Bank (now part of HSBC).

If Everymile is a success, it could also have analysts wondering exactly what kind of business WPP is and calls for it to sell off some of its slower-growing legacy advertising business. A question that can never be so far from the mind of the new “Grocer” Read.

Anne G. Cash