Giant U.K. music and entertainment merchant Virgin Retail is to undergo a "complete revamp" of its online offering.

The new Virgin Retail Web site at will be developed with "simplicity" and "usability" in mind for the customers, while allowing for greater control and flexibility for adding-on new functions, the company says in a statement issued today.

Also, the updated site will bring the online service's management and development in-house for the first time.

"The vastly improved site, geared towards the needs of today's online customer will form a major pillar of Virgin's multi-channel strategy", comments Steve Kincaid, Virgin's marketing and e-commence director, in the statement.

Virgin Retail has chosen a string of companies to develop the new Web site, which will go live by late summer 2007.

The companies involved in the project are hybris, a supplier of e-business software solutions; Mercado, an e-commerce search and merchandising solution specialist; and design agency Underwired. Retail and e-commerce consultancy
Javelin Group has been hired to advise on the choice of technology and Web agency partner.

The news comes on the heels of rival HMV's plans to beef up its online and digital operations in the United Kingdom.