WorldStores, operator of niche websites such as and, is to develop an umbrella brand following an £8.5m venture capital cash injection.

The online retailer, which runs 77 websites, wants to take on Argos by launching a catalogue under the WorldStores brand and develop for home and garden products.

WorldStores co-founder Joe Murray said: “We want to be the largest online home and garden retailer.”

The retailer received backing from venture capital firms Balderton Capital, already an investor in the etailer, and Advent this week, to fund the expansion. The WorldStores catalogue will feature products from across its 77 sites along with magazine content.

Murray said the etail group is moving into new categories such as homewares and home furnishings.

The retailer is in discussions to partner with other retailers to provide a co-branded offer.

Murray said: “We offer 175,000 products in the home and garden sector. There’s a good opportunity to partner with other retailers who are looking to expand into categories which are not core to them where we have the expertise.”

Murray said the etailer expects to grow revenue from £22.4m to £40m in its year ending January 31, 2012.