BT has surprisingly announced that it has bought the IT and technology part internet retailer for an undisclosed sum.

According to the company, the move is part of BT’s strategy to strengthen its online sales and service capabilities, particularly for small and medium-sized business and consumer products.

"To complement Dabs’ broad base of IT and technology products, BT will offer its full range of products and support services online – enhancing its position as a leading retailer of converged IT and communications products and services", it said in a statement.

Bolton based Dabs has around a million consumer and business customers across the UK, as well as a small operation in France.

In the year ended March 31, 2005, the company’s revenues were £180 million with gross assets valued at £42million.

Ian Livingston, chief executive of BT Retail, said: “Dabs is a dotcom success story and one of the best companies in its field".

“This purchase strengthens our online IT and digital products sales and service presence for small and medium-sized businesses as well as for consumer customers.”

The business now becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of BT.

Established in 1990, processes about 75,000 customer orders each month and offers more than 15,000 products from leading IT manufacturers.