UK supermarkets are due to lose more than £100m in their ventures into online trading this year alone, say internet consultants E-Insight. The net will only serve to intensify competition in home shopping and drive down margins in a sector yet to be fully developed, says the report. E-Insight says supermarkets are still suffering from inefficient and costly order fulfilment centres, and a marketing spend without clear focus. E-Insight chief executive Alan Taylor said: "Grocery products are currently moved around twice as many times as they should be, to get them from warehouse to kitchen worktop." Taylor also said consumers were worried about hygiene and temperature control. And he said suppliers were surprised the multiples had not teamed up to use the web as a tool to reduce their distribution and overhead costs. He added that a lack of market scale was generating little or no return on investments. But multiples contacted by The Grocer this week said they were taking internet development one step at a time, and were prepared to invest to get the formula right. Tesco, the only retailer claiming to make a profit with its Direct home shopping service, said: "Our store picking model works, and if it ain't broke, we won't mend it." Asda, with its dedicated picking centres, slammed the report's findings. "We do not think we are inefficient with Asda@Home. And as for hygiene ­ our fleet of temperature controlled vans transports food safely. How many consumers have fridges and freezers in their cars? We are moving slowly, but want to get everything right ­ that requires heavy investment," said a spokeswoman. l Analysts are downplaying City rumours that Tesco Direct will be floated on the stock market, saying the home shopping business is too important for the multiple. HSBC analyst Kate Kalvert said the multiple will split Tesco Direct into a separate department but that it had no intention of floating the company. She added: "It would be completely illogical to float Tesco Direct ­ in fact it would be physically impossible as it is too strategically important to the brand." {{NEWS }}