Cash strapped Spar Handels - the symbol group’s German arm - is pulling the plug on SAP Retail to reduce its IT budget.

Spar has already invested between 15m and 20m euros in the partly installed system, but there has been little to show for all the expense. Removal of the system should be completed by the end of November.

New figures suggest there may still be potential in the US online grocery business despite the buzz having seemingly gone following the demise of outfits like Webvan, WebHouse and city delivery firm Kozmo.

According to Jupiter Research analyst Ken Cassar, online US sales of groceries are estimated to reach $5.4bn by 2007, up from$1bn last year.