WEBVAN TO INCLUDE MORE NON-GROCERY ITEMS

FOSTER CITY, Calif. -- Internet grocery service Webvan Group here said it will step up its rollout into new markets from 11 to 15 cities and broaden its merchandise offerings to include more nongrocery items by the end of 2001. D.C. The company, which currently sells only in the San Francisco area, will expand to five cities by the end of this year, starting with Atlanta in May, and add nine cities

FOSTER CITY, Calif. -- Internet grocery service Webvan Group here said it will step up its rollout into new markets from 11 to 15 cities and broaden its merchandise offerings to include more nongrocery items by the end of 2001.

D.C. The company, which currently sells only in the San Francisco area, will expand to five cities by the end of this year, starting with Atlanta in May, and add nine cities in 2001.

The news came as Webvan reported sales of $9.1 million for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, an increase of 136% over its third-quarter results. For the year, Webvan reported sales of $13.3 million and a net loss of $145 million, or $1.27 per share. The financial report was the first since Webvan went public in November.

Webvan said its customer base in San Francisco exceeds 47,000, and that repeat orders accounted for 75% of its business. The average order size for the quarter was $81.31, up 12% from the third quarter.

"Over the next 24 months, we will take steps to aggressively build a brand name on a national scale, acquire customers and fulfill on the last mile of e-commerce," said George T. Shaheen, Webvan president and chief executive officer.

Webvan successfully tested a fulfillment and delivery service with an on-line cosmetics company in the quarter, which it said proved its ability to link with other e-tailers. The company also struck deals with consumer-products companies including Pillsbury, Quaker Oats, Kellogg's, General Mills and Nestle.