Rakuten UK marketplace is closing down

In rather surprising news, it seems that Rakuten is closing down its UK operation in August.

In an email to partners, Patrick Kelly, UK Marketplace Country Manager writes: “We regret to inform you that following a strategic review of its operations in Europe, Rakuten has decided to consider plans to close Rakuten.co.uk at the end of August.

This is part of a European business review aimed at ensuring that Rakuten is able to redevelop our offer to match customer and merchant expectations in an ever-changing market.

Rakuten has started to talk with employees around the closure of both the operation and the Cambridge office and, subject to these discussions, we anticipate that the marketplace will no longer accept new purchases after the end of August 2016.

All merchants will be informed today.”

If you’re a Rakuten seller, we’d love to see the email too merchants, when they send it.

This is not good news, Tamebay has always stood by the view that competition between marketplaces is a good thing and eBay and Amazon need a plausible third player. Rakuten could have been that player but the strange rebranding to Rakuten, a dismissive attitude to sellers (especially when transitioning from play.com) and a lack of direction was evident.

Rakuten UK just didn’t know what it wanted to do or be and that’s fatal in business.