150 more jobs are lost as Play.com pulls out

ALMOST 150 workers are to lose their jobs after the Island’s biggest online retailer announced that it was leaving Jersey following the loss of a vital tax relief.

Around 150 people are to lose their jobs with the departure of Play.com
Around 150 people are to lose their jobs with the departure of Play.com

ALMOST 150 workers are to lose their jobs after the Island’s biggest online retailer announced that it was leaving Jersey following the loss of a vital tax relief.

In one of the most devastating blows to hit the Island following the loss of Low-Value Consignment Relief last year, Play.com today said that 147 warehouse and finance department staff were to be made redundant before the end of March.

The news signals the end of Jersey’s association with Play.com, which grew from a three-man operation above a sports shop in town into a multi-million-pound global enterprise employing hundreds of people in Jersey and thousands more across the world.

It is likely to cause a further surge in Jersey’s already high unemployment levels, with a record 1,820 people out of work.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Comments for: "150 more jobs are lost as Play.com pulls out"


they need to do somthing soon or it will lead to social unrest


Oh, calm down!


She started it.


Another sad day for the Island and I don't see much improvement, it was on it's way though. The Island is still in a bubble and I don't know why more apartments are being built, it's just a matter of time and the whole housing market will crumble. We'll be seeing more & more jobs go & people who are lucky to have a job that pays the minimum wage won't be able to afford property.


Thank you UK you put knife in jersey back.Thank you UK!!!


Other way round, The states allowed the UK to put the knife in the back of this most important of the islands industries and workplaces. The fallout is gonna keep costing the island dearly


It wasn't the UK, Play wanted to leave anyway, as costs were too high on the Island, even with tax benefit.


You need to keep eating brain food,'geezzer'

Steve Jones

What a load of Jersey head in the sand crap. Play .com was built on a loop hole. and the only thing the UK did was close it.


Er, no. The businesses simply moved to another jurisdiction (mainly Luxembourg and Switzerland) and carry on as before. UK won't touch them there. Uk has made Jersey comply simply out of spite.


The costs of running the business in Jersey were too high anyway and since Jersey isn't in the EU it's become more difficult to send things from the Island, as other countries are aware of it now. A lot of shipments get stuck with customs, you need a proforma invoice and the customer from the EU has to collect it from customs, which just takes longer and is annoying. Also having the warehouse on mainland makes more sense, or moving to a country were the post is quicker. A few years ago we had a few companies come to Jersey, because of the tax benefit but a lot have left because our post is too slow and trading from a tiny Island with restrictions doesn't work anymore. Instead of blaming the UK, maybe people should be creative and come up with new ideas.

Little Englander

No geezzer you have been putting the knife in the UK's back by exploiting a tax relief that was meant for market garden products produced in Jersey.


If that is true, then why was the LVCR law introduced in the first place covering the rest of the world outside the EU, rather than specifically Jersey?

Why did the UK make a change to this law (it wasn’t a loophole) to exempt the CI when they confirm 85% of products affected by LVCR come from China alone.

If there is any exploitation, it clearly is still happening. But slamming "Tax Haven" Jersey gets clueless voters on the governments good side.


I thought they sold it last year to the Japanese for a few millions just before they closed the loop hole.


Correct Kermit- it was sold in 2011 for 25 million!!!

Jersey Boy

Correct! and they knew full well its was going to come to an end in Jersey, it was just a matter of when. The basically paid 25m for the brand name and web presence.

Andy Pandy

That's what happens when you build a business, or indeed an economy, on tax wheezes!


Hmm interesting to see how the UK respond to Gibraltar who are picking up a lot of the business.


The UK will not respond to Gibraltar because unlike Jersey, the UK in 1973, negotiaited a special status for Gibraltar. There is no such special status for Jersey, that is the reason we were and still are a sitting duck.

On the other hand we can all sleep soundly in our beds as the daft lot in the Big House and the growing number of Civil Servants will, without doubt, be dreaming up ways to tax the pants off all the other businesses that have so far managed to survive on this rock.

My condolences to the poor souls who will be losing their jobs, through really no fault of their own.

The link below will explain the status of Gibraltar et al.

Hope this helps to explain.



Well said Andy Pandy. I feel for all those who will be losing their jobs and wish them all the best in finding something new, but any business built on a tax loophole is a risky and limited-time proposition.


Andy, you are right this is just the beginning of the clollapse of all these projects built on tax dodges that jersey thinks its so good at. The banking industry is already getting rid of people. Frankly, the sooner the better as then perhaps all the greedy people who have flooded and spoiled the Island will go back to wherever they came from and Jersey might once again become the beautiful place it once was.


Quite agree. Hopefully the first to leave will be those non-Jersey states members and Jerseymen can reclaim our government.


If "Jerseymen" want to reclaim their government then they need to run for office...and "Jerseymen" will all vote for the "Jerseymen"???


Oh dear! What about the finance industry in years to come then!?!

Fed up!

Exactly! But the bozo's that run this Island don't care.


What really annoys me the "bozo's" thought they could challenge and appeal the decision by the U.K. and didn't hesitate in throwing away more of our millions, still nothing new there eh!!


You are right and these are not solid industries as they were here for a specific reason to make use of the favourable tax set up. Did anyone realisticaly expect them to be long term players on the rock. These companies are chancers here to exploit until they were stopped then move on to somewhere else. All the gear is easily containerised and will be up and running in the new host country in the blink of an eye.


This is a pretty low move from Play.com. The Jersey boys behind the company started in Jersey and it was Jersey who made them successful. They make more money from Play.com than most of us will ever see in our lifetime. To me there is a level of social responsibility which comes from employing people, especially in Jersey. Just when 150 people in Jersey needed you the most, you let us down.

Old Crappo

"6 BeanAbroad", I think you may have BeanAbroad too long because the two Jerseymen who founded Play.com sold the business last year, the new owners have no loyalty towards Jersey and as far as they are concerned this is just business!


Shame they never thought to build in any safeguards to protect the Jersey elements of the business. Now 150 jobs are lost for the sake of making a few more quid elsewhere. This is how a community that supported and created their success is treated.

the thin wallet

if the business is costing money to run, and not making enough , then it needs to close .

before it takes its suppliers with it .

and the sub contrators that did work for it . i am not saying that this is the case with play.

but its a basic business rule.

wont be long before we are at 2000 unemployed .

we may be there now as not everyone signs on at social.


The Jersey boys behind Play.com, have no control of what happens to it after it was sold to Rakutan. It was Rakutan decision to move out of Jersey.

Rakutan only bought it in the first place for the customer base and to promote their Market place. They had no interest in the retail side of Play.




Err.. They sold the company to the Japanese last year, perhaps you should forward your post to them.

Paul the Builder

I know it's a shame when anyone losses their job but on the few occassions I've been there to look at jobs hardly anyone could speak English. I'd like to know how many of the staff losses will be Jersey residents i.e 11 years, not this 5 year ruling ?

Parktown Prawn

My wife worked there temporarily between jobs a few years ago and she says the majority were "eastern european" back then.

There was a very strong feeling of "foreign foreman" syndrome and they (the foreign staff) treated her poorly so I have to say I have no sympathy.


Well Parktown Prawn, it's not the kind of job people enjoy doing and if your wife felt unsecure working under foreigners tough luck. I'm sure there are enough people who get on well and if you smile others might smile too. If you go into this kind of job with the thinking I don't want to hear a different language, you'll never enjoy it. I do agree that it shouldn't be allowed to speak a different language when others are present but that's just the way it is. I work for a software company and each person deals with a different country but it's agreed that when we go to lunch main language is english so all can understand. It works well and we all get on so it is possible to communicate:-)

Parktown Prawn


Unless you know what you're talking about then don't bother commenting.

She was made redundant from finance and needed a job....any job.....in order to help pay the Social Security contributions she was still liable to pay even when unemployed!

She certainly did not feel "unsecure"....whatever you mean by that....perhaps you meant "insecure"?

I don't know why you ramble on about foreign language.....that wasn't even mentioned or implied by me.

She is a foreign national herself (although now a British citizen) and she felt intimidated by the clique of eastern european workers who all stuck together and did not bother to integrate outside of their circle or at least be a tiny bit sociable towards fellow colleagues of non-eastern european origin. There was no feeling or camaraderie you would normally get with decent work colleagues and she felt there was an element of unfairness and biase from the immediate line management....who were also of eastern european origin.

A lot of clowns on this forum are quick to moan that local residents are hostile and you even get the usual misplaced accusation of "racism".....but the fact is some people bring on these problems themselves by the way they act....or don't act.

Andy Pandy

That's what happens when you build a business, or for that matter an economy, on tax wheezes!


This is the trouble with being dependent on tax loophole business models. They can get plugged at any time by the country losing the tax revenue and jobs. This is exactly what has happened in this case. This means up to 147 workers will now end up down at social security fighting it out with the 1820 other officially unemployed souls over the small number of jobs on offer.

The states had better start getting a grip or there will be social unrest.


Here we go again start of year and another company to close.i buy a lot of m things from play.com.I guessed this would happen as soon as it was sold to a japanese company.They have gone down hill since,goods are not delivered safely packaged now.My son ordered a set of mugs for a present for christmas arrived broken .Had to send them back but cant say they can replace the item.The British goverment did not help but the owners selling out did not either.Its a shame as they were a good company.


I'm going away to get married and was told by work that I'm not needed anymore when I get back. I'm gutted! I love Jersey and was born and educated here, they paid for me to go to Uni (well the tax payer did) which has made me the professional that i am today, however, when it came to getting work I just feel let down! With a heavy heart I wil have to leave for good and seek a new life elsewhere.


Good luck Sponge. I'm sure in time you will look back and realise it was for the best.

I fear Jersey is on the edge of a financial precipice and about to take a huge fall. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel especially with the constant attacks on our finance industry.

I too have been made redundant and would certainly move away if my circumstances would allow.


I left Jersey a year ago after being made redundant in 2010 and then worked for a bank but quality of life wasn't great. Housing on the Island is too expensive and buying a small apartment with a massive mortgage and no security wasn't an option. It was the best decision ever and quality of life has really improved. Instead of a damp 1 bed apartment I now have a 4 bed house with garden 15 mins away from town and work + mortgage is 1/3 of my rent in Jersey. At first I thought I might miss the beaches around the corner but it's only 40 mins drive to the coast where I live now and when I look back how many days did I really spend on the beach after work (can't count that many:-). With the money I have left I just book a few more days holiday in the sun and I don't have to be stuck in a small apartment.


Very true Koller , i too got off Jersey in 2010 am in USA now got nice 4 Bedroom place and mortgage works out around half the amount i was paying for a small , mouldy flat in five oaks .. Jersey is a place that money passes through on its way east or west , its limitations for work - work / life enjoyment are probably becoming more apparent to the majority of the populous .. Shame to see these people loose their jobs at a bad time a lot are polish and will move on or go home , alas not a lot left for local / long term workers there and looks like they will have to adapt / overcome


What a spectacular own goal the fulfilment/tax loophole business is turning out to be.Most of these immigrant workers have now been here 5 years and therefore able to now claim benefits-FOREVER!Sort of cancels out any economic benefit this industry has provided the island.Not to mention that thanks to our great 0/10 tax system Play.com hasn't ever paid any tax,only their minimum wage employees paying ITIS.Yet again our politicians were very short sighted and only looking at short term financial gain,nothing else.


The immigrant workers came here to work. They have strong work ethics and will undoubtedly move again to where they can find work. We shouldn't judge them by our own lazy standards.


try getting the facts before you comment........

yes Play did pay tax in Jersey.....

pay for the staff was above the minimum wage

not all staff were immigrants


Totally agree, they were willing to work in the first place so stop moaning. They'll move on while you'll be sitting at home crying. You moan and moan, just be thankful that jobs were provided over the last few years.


Hindsight is a wonderful thing huh?

Where were you at the time they were setting up? When there was hope that the islands economy was diversifying into other areas?

We sure could have used your cutting insight back then and stopped this opportunity dead in its tracks.

(to be read with as much dripping sarcasm as you can muster).

William S

"He who sups with the devil has need of a long spoon"



William S

Sorry,mate, I died in 1616. You'll have to work that out for yourself!


Was on the cards though ....unemplyment will continue to rise during 2013....I wonder if Social Security has been in touch with the Farmers Union.....instead of allowing more immigrant workers in to the Island for potatoe planting etc....take on the unemployed....its not hard work and easy to do...and yes I've done it.


Andy will you work for 6 pounds an hour?

Doubt it very much...

Will you be happy to work 12-14 hours a day?

Doubt it very much...

Will this money be sufficient for you to get wasted in your local pub on daily basis?

Doubt it very much...

So stop blaming immigrants for everything.

Parktown Prawn


He said he has already done this....what don't you understand?


"will you work for 6 pounds an hour?"

Most people would if they had no other form of income. If minimum wage was higher in another country and allowed me to earn more there in order to save and buy a home, living a comfortable life in Jersey then I'd be there in a shot......whatever the working conditions.

"Will you be happy to work 12-14 hours a day?"

Many, many people already do.....and without overtime pay. What is your point?

"Will this money be sufficient for you to get wasted in your local pub on daily basis?"

Ignoring your underlying insult and stereotype of locals, the minimum wage seems to afford many others to get wasted in public on a daily basis. Many a time I have seen "immigrant labour" (although they could just as easily be immigrant benefit scroungers) walking the streets, wasted, with open beer cans or spirit bottles in the old cliche "brown paper bags"...or standing outside "Alphonso's" or Minden Place car park getting hammered.....explain that if you will.

If you could read properly you would understand that Andy was not "blaming" immigrants. He was simply stating an obvious fact. If we have high unemployment already then stop allowing more newcomers into the island to take the small amount of jobs that are available....thus causing MORE unemployment.

Common sense....not "blame"!

Just a local

Without wanting to insult any of the staff losing their jobs, these are not the sort of people who will find work in the finance sector easily. But it does show how dangerous it is to have so few different aspects to the economy.

The future

Thats 150 families paying 150 landlords and 150 income taxes lost.

The steep decline in sucesful business activity within the Island can only lead to further unemployment. Whilst at the same time The high street is being taken over by service industries, which for whatever reason, employ labour born elsewhere.

Now more than ever we need decisive actions rather than the indecisive inaction we currently get from our government.


Work permits needed as has been said many, many times.

And cut backs in welfare before our income tax is 40% to pay it

Real Truthseeker

Jersey are not able to bring in work permits due to Protocol 3 legislation that JErsey must adhere to. If you are referring to Non-EU nationals, there is already a very tough, stringent and costly Work Permit system in place. I went through it - I should know.


Can we not change the housing law then? Anything, just replicate Guernsey amybe. I for one moment do not blame a single individual for wanting to come to Jersey to improve their lifestyle but it,s down to the SOJ to not let it happen any longer. It,s governments fault, not the people coming here

for work.

Real Truthseeker

S - definitely possible. Only point is that Jersey are not able to make it's own immigration law, as the UK Immigration Act applies to the mainland and British Isles.


You have no clue Overpopulated. What will you achieve with a work permit?

It's hard enough to get a job for outsiders and 5 years is on every simple job these days, so nobody is really interested coming. That also causes problems as 50% of locals are working for foreign companies but with restrictions Jersey is not interesting for business. Companies will just move away and more locals are unemployed. I know you have your view and will never change but what sounds great to you, always has another side.


No one is interested in coming?

Go and walk around St Helier ....

Tom Fairchild

BeanAbroad how is this a low move. The Jersey based ex owners left with all their money before Rakuten bought Play.com from them. Rakuten look to be making something from their investment by building their marketplace from the profitable areas.


I'm taking about social responsibility to the community being important. Life is not just about profits and being greedy. It was the Jersey community which made this company, and now 150 Jersey jobs are tossed aside without a care for the community which made them successful. The Jersey boys sold out without any safeguards for the Jersey elements of the business, and now this has happened. Just when we needed them the most they let us down - for the sake of making more money elsewhere.


I don't know where you keep getting this 'made by the community' idea from.

It was founded by two entrepeneurs who's intentions were only ever to operate it as a profit-making business for their own financial gain. The vast majority of Play's customer base was in the UK, not the island. So, I'd like to know where along the way you think it was the 'community' that made their business?

You make it sound like some sort of charity. Why should the two founders have any obligation to put their own money into the community? They provided jobs for islanders whilst the company was profitable in the island, and now that it can no longer sustain profits here, it has moved on. Cry all you want but that is just how a private business in a free market operates.

C Le Verdic

Jersey people understand the way business works, Alex.

They are the champions of the free market and the principle of winner takes all and the devil takes the hindmost.

They will, of course, be making sure that those affected take it on the chin.

Tax exile

Don't blame HMRC. Jersey built an industry here on a tax dodge. How can it be right to ship goods from the UK to Jersey so that they can be posted back at a prices that are cheaper than the tax paid price in the UK. Jersey is a crown dependency and this was like stealing from your own family. Get over it.


This is what I don't understand. Why are we always paying over the top prices because they add shipping? How could it be cheaper to ship goods in and out again?

Self exiled

Jersey steals from its own family most of the time.

Time the family took Jersey firmly into its bosom and made the Channel Islands a county, putting an end to this nonsense for once and for all.


I have a feeling you underestimate the strength of peoples views over the identity of Jersey. I doubt most people in Jersey, especially the locals, will EVER accept becoming a county of the UK. Considering how poorly the UK have treated Jersey over the last 70 years - from walking out in 1940 and leaving us undefended to the most recent moves, Jersey has suffered through neglect at the hands of the UK. If anything, Jersey much prefers its own unique identity and would prefer to be politicially further from the UK, not closer. Not sure I'd advocate independence like our dear M. Bailhache is suggesting, but closer ties to the UK? NO THANKS.

Self exiled

I might be more inclined to agree with you if Jersey people still made up the local population! Go out anywhere locally and mostly you will hear a horrible mish mash of the less attractive UK local accents.

The only unique local identity is that none of the inhabitants like paying tax.

Tax exile

This tax haven has treated its parent badly. Walk out in 1940, what planet are you from. If Churchill had contested the invasion then lots more locals would have been killed and the focus from the bigger battle would be lost. Have some respect, perhaps you would prefer a French passport.

Bottom line is that jersey needs to have industries that are best in class. It's trust sector is close to that and it is now about a lot more than tax plays. Hospitality needs looking at and we also need keep encouraging the very wealthy to live here as they spend plenty on local services. Make it easier for millionaires to retire here, build some more luxury homes.


Build more luxury homes? There are plenty of £2.5m and above houses for sale, £8m or so on the Savilles website

Why would rich people come to Jersey and drive their expensive cars around at 30mph, in the rain.

Barbados, Monte Carlo etc are more preferable and have the top end shops to spend your hard earned cash


If the Jersey fulfillment industry was based on effectively stealing from your own family, what does the closure of the supposed tax "loophole" represent?

The UK changed their tax code presumably to increase their tax revenue. The increase in the UK tax revenue comes at the expense of the Jersey economy. So who is stealing from who?


No worries Jersey peeps we not looking for your social benefits :) the most of us will leave island quick as it is possible.for example i got new job in southampton :)anyway i would like to say thank you for my 9 years in Jersey.i have met lot of amazing people here.Locals,British,Polish etc.i have great respect to that islad.BYE BYE


No matter the circumstances or the rational,,thoughts are with those and their families that have had this devastating news.

Good luck and good fortune going forward.


Thanks UK - for this and all the other benefits you provide us with.

I don't know what we would do without you!


I can't believe how thick some people on this island are!

The UK haven't stitched us up at all, this business only existed because of the taxation loophole. The only reason anybody had a job with Play.com is because we were ripping off the UK


Agree, people still think Jersey is a country but that's not the case. Why should Jersey have different laws, you drive on the left and have the queen on bank notes. Just because people are prepared to pay double the price for a property doesn't mean we can change the laws, It was a loophole and finished.


"Why should Jersey have different laws, You drive on the left and have the queen on bank notes"

Thats explains where you are going wrong.

1) we are self-governing and can set our own laws and we are not part of the United Kingdom nor of the European Union. So, whilst not a country, we are not even part of England.

2) The Queen of England isnt the Queen of Jersey, She is our Duke.

"It was a loophole and finished."

It wasn’t a loophole, it was a specific law. It is not finished; the law still exists and continues to apply to every other jurisdiction outside the EU.

Walter G

But it still isn't a country and people will be surprised very soon. Jersey car drivers will also have to pay road tax in the next 3 years and no more bangers on the road.


Walter, Who has ever said that Jersey is a country?

More importantly, who agreed with the first person?

As to road tax in the next three years? Why? Where did you get that from?

It would be far easier to increase duty than introduce a brand new tax and it would pull in more money.

Parktown Prawn

Wasn't road tax removed already and covered by increase in duty??


The now very wealthy so called Jersey Boys who sold out to the Japs need to put their hands in their pockets and give the sacked staff a few quid


Jersey needs to find another way.

All and every bussiness should pay the relevant taxes if they are UK based then they should not be allowed to set up in Jersey without paying UK taxes, Jersey companies have to pay their taxes, so why should UK offshore companoes get a way with it.


If only they had Corbell to look after them !!!

And some are still asking for a pay rise...


What I want to know is, where were our politicians during this time? Why were they not making it clear to the UK that this change in their tax code would have such a damaging effect on our small economy?

Who has researched the economic benefits to the UK versus the economic damage done to Jersey by this tax change? Basically the UK is damaging the Jersey economy to improve their income. Question to the UK is, was it worth it?


The EU were also behind the push to block this loophole. Apparently retailers in Spain amongst others had also kicked up a fuss about the previous state of affairs.

Whether there is a damaging effect to Jersey's economy is not the UK's concern. Their concern is to protect their business interests. How many UK retailers etc went out of business due to LVCR? Where was the support for them from Jersey? Did anyone in Jersey care about the effects on UK businesses of LVCR?

The problem as I see it was that the Jersey government allowed this sector to grow too large, making it too big to ignore from outside.

We are now left to pick up the pieces.


But hasn't the fulfilment industry simply moved to those areas outside (fully) the EU such as Switzerland? I have no problem with UK reducing the VAT threshold (not a loophole), but it looks like it was a kneejerk reaction to "show Jersey who is boss" to me. Either way, the Play.com closure has been on the cards since the day the Japanese firm took over; they have wanted to move the business to a "marketplace" type seller from the get go, the LVCR issue simply hastened the move


I have actually requested, via Freedom of Information requests, of the HMRC & HM Treasury details of how much VAT has been paid in excess of pre LVCR amounts. Unsurprisingly they claim they do not know! So much for all their forecasts then...


Clearly this shows that alternative industries and sources of revenue are needed in Jersey that are not entirely dependent on finance or a taxation loophole that was at best, tenous. Then I saw that the UK plans to build a Super Prison that can house up to 2,000 prisoners. I thought about Fort Regent, sitting at the top of Mount Bingham only partly used and having stout walls capable of withstanding sieges and armed assault. Could Jersey do worse than accepting the UK's worst offenders and locking them away from normal society? Their families will visit and bring in more revenue than tourism, which was only made up of the Great Unwashed (or bucket & spade brigade) anyway.


After they'd done their long sentences, they'd probably be allowed to claim Social Security payments by our English politicians and be rehoused locally.


roombay, that used to be the case and it was really crazy. But at least they blocked it a while ago.


I'm not sure how, but this is almost certainly the fault of those damn lazy CIVIL SERVANTS!!!

Keep smiling.

Love & Hugs.