The UK’s second largest supermarket chain, J Sainsbury, has forged an alliance with media group Carlton Communications to jointly develop food, cooking equipment and wine sales via interactive television and the internet. The platform for the venture will be Carlton's website

The partnership was announced yesterday alongside Carlton’s half-year results, when the group also unveiled a raft of other online initiatives. These include a joint venture to launch a European version of US internet radio site WWW.COM, and a £154m (€250 million) pan-European internet and interactive TV partnership with broadcasters in Germany, Italy, France and Spain.

Said Carlton chairman Michael Green: "Our free and pay television platforms broadcast to over 22 million people. By guiding viewers to our online content we can generate substantial e-commerce revenues."

Carlton reported a slight rise in pre-tax profits to £171m (£164.9m) for the six months to 31 March. The figures exclude exceptionals including digital TV development costs, where expenditure doubled to £98m during the period. Advertising revenues had risen by 8% and Carlton Television was on track for 18% advertising sales growth in the third quarter.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)