Marks & Spencer (M&S) has signed its fifth e-commerce partnership in two weeks - this time with Confetti Network (Confetti). The strategic partnership, whereby M&S will be the leading anchor tenant in Confetti's on-line shopping mall, will allow M&S to improve its reach and service to customers as well as establish a solid working relationship with one of Europe's leading wedding portals. In a separate agreement Marks & Spencer Ventures has taken a small stake in Confetti Network.

As part of its customer focused e-commerce strategy, Marks & Spencer has already signed alliances with some of the world's leading digital and media companies including Microsoft's consumer Internet service MSN; BBC Worldwide's on-line shopping portal; Open; and Telewest. The agreements signify major progress in the development of Marks & Spencer's on-line offering, the company's intention to attract customers to its services and to enhance its position as a multi-channel retailer.

Confetti has also announced that it will acquire>/a> and from Durlacher Plc, making Confetti a leader in the on-line wedding business in Europe. The combination of these businesses will give Confetti what is claimed to be the largest database of people planning weddings in Europe, and will include the and sites in Germany and in France, attracting over 10 million page impressions per month.

The partnership with Confetti will give Marks & Spencer access to a wider customer base and extend its position as one of the leading gift registry services in the UK and the opportunity to capture a greater proportion of the UK's £400 million wedding gift market

Peter Robinson, head of e-commerce, Marks & Spencer, comments: "Research shows us that our customers are increasingly arranging their weddings on-line. Our partnership with Confetti will bring our extensive range of products and services together with the vast range of information and planning tools that Confetti's site offers, thus giving access to one of the largest databases of people planning weddings in the UK and enabling us to increase our share of the gift registry market. Marks & Spencer is delighted to partner with Confetti as we have a common desire to provide customers with leading standards in on-line services."

As part of the agreement with Confetti, Marks & Spencer will take an anchor tenancy on the site and will have direct links, via the M&S logo, from which customers can access the on-line gift registry section of the Marks & Spencer website. In return, details of Confetti's services will be given on Marks & Spencer's in-store gift registry leaflets and on Marks & Spencer's wedding list "guest cards".

As part of M&S's strategy to develop multiple delivery channels and utilise its existing infrastructure, the company has identified a number of commitments to develop its Internet and digital television services. By Christmas 2000, M&S will have more than 3,000 products available on its website and will have an integrated multiple channel supply chain, making all in-store products accessible over the Internet and other digital channels by summer 2001. The in-store ordering facilities will also benefit from these features.