Martha Lane Fox is targeting more retail partners as part of the Race Online 2012 initiative spearheaded by the Marks & Spencer non-executive director.

Lane Fox is aiming for 10,000 commercial partners by the end of the year, with Comet the first retailer to sign up to the scheme, which hopes to have as close to 100% of the population internet-enabled by the end of 2012 as possible.

Comet will offer in-store IT training and produce a free DVD as part of its pledge to get 50,000 pensioners online by 2012.

Nine commercial partners have been signed so far - including Google, Talk Talk and McDonald’s. Lane Fox told Retail Week that the initiative will benefit all multichannel retailers and hopes to work with more retail partners, particularly M&S.

Comet commercial director Bob Darke said that 39% of the 10 million adults who have never used the internet are over 65. “We have quite a good loyal base and market share of people in that segment, so we are developing a specific training programme for seniors and putting a training pack together with some people from the charity sector,” he explained.

The retailer will use the 400 ‘grey goods’ experts working in its 250 stores to provide basic IT training for the over-65s, offering 20 to 30 minutes of advice. Comet is also in the process of creating a DVD for consumers giving more advice on how to get online.

For more information visit