WHSmith has launched a dedicated entertainment website selling more than 200,000 products.

The website, Whsmithentertainment.co.uk, offers products such as DVDs, CDs, games and consoles. It sells items to “suit all ages and all tastes”, according to the retailer.

A spokesperson said: “The aim is to offer an immediate entertainment range for our online customers and we will continue to review how we develop the offer.”

The move follows WHSmith’s decision to steadily reduce its entertainment offer in stores, which it reiterated at its October interim results – although the retailer denied it would stop selling entertainment in stores. At the time it revealed entertainment sales fell 18 per cent for the year to August 3, 2008.

This week WHSmith would not say if the website launch signified a move to sell entertainment solely online.

Numis analyst Nick Coulter said the website launch was “odd” as WHSmith has been committed to reducing its entertainment lines.

He said: “Part of its cost savings have come from taking entertainment products off the shopfloor. But it’s sensible to preserve some sort of scale in entertainment. And if you already have a supply chain it would take very little effort to have a strong web presence.”

The website has been marketed via an email campaign and is also accessed via a click-through button from its Whsmith.co.uk site, which sells products such as books and stationery.

Nielsen Online analyst Alex Burmaster said: “Entertainment online is experiencing quite strong growth. This move makes sense if things aren’t working in store.”

However, he added that it is “surprising” that a retailer would choose to create a separate site. He said: “It has the potential to confuse customers. Transferring customers to another site does not pay off in the long term.”