Marks & Spencer on board as former DSGi chief gears up for online launch.

Former DSGi boss John Clare will launch his e-tail venture in just over a week, with retailers including Marks & Spencer as key partners.

The e-tail business,, which combines shopping and social networking, is scheduled to launch on June 30, Retail Week has learnt. Clare hopes it will transform online retailing and his stated ambition is to make it “the ultimate shop”.

The enterprise, co-founded by advertising mogul Lord Saatchi, aims to attract 5 million unique users within three years. The site enables consumers to stock a bespoke store with their favourite retailers and labels.

M&S, Toshiba, Heals, Kurt Geiger, Vivienne Westwood and Microsoft’s X-Box are among almost 50 to have signed up, said a Myfaveshop spokesman.

The venture will be an acid test for Clare. After leaving DSGi on a high last autumn, his reputation was tarnished by a wave of problems that overwhelmed the electricals giant soon afterwards and that were laid at his door.

Deloitte retail strategic adviser Richard Hyman said many of the criticisms made of Clare’s stewardship were unfair, but observed: “There will be a lot riding on [Myfaveshop’s] success.”

He believes Myfaveshop could offer consumers something different. He said: “Models that really focus on the technological advantages of the internet are very attractive and have a good chance of success by adding value to the shopping experience.”

Clare famously took the Dixons name off the high street and moved it online in May 2006.

He has been a long-standing advocate of e-tailing and an outspoken critic of property firms whose onerous terms have hindered the ability of the high street to compete with online.

Myfaveshop will take a cut of participating retailers’ sales and, like a shopping centre, charge rent for their presence. “It’s an amusing thought – there’s more than a hint of irony there,” said Hyman.

E-tail sales have so far proved immune to the general consumer downturn, according to research house Verdict.

They are expected to reach£44.9 billion by 2012 – almost 14 per cent of all online spending.

No comment was available from Clare.