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Tech Industry

Retail B2B marketplace boom continues

Business software maker i2 Technologies announces SoftgoodsMatrix.com, a Web-based marketplace designed to connect retail, apparel, footwear, home furnishings, floor covering and textile goods suppliers and sellers.

Business-to-business e-commerce marketplaces are popping up throughout the retail industry.

Business software maker i2 Technologies announced SoftgoodsMatrix.com, a Web-based marketplace designed to connect retail, apparel, footwear, home furnishings, floor covering and textile goods suppliers and sellers.

SoftgoodsMatrix.com is the latest in what analysts expect to be an explosion of marketplaces in the retail industry. The largest of the marketplaces was launched yesterday when database giant Oracle and retail good powerhouse Sears announced the GlobalNetXchange marketplace, which will bring a wide range of retail merchandise online, including apparel, food and other consumer products.

There are about 30 retail marketplaces to date, with Oracle-Sears the largest one planned so far. Analysts expect many of the smaller, independent exchanges to eventually join a larger retail exchanges.

In conjunction with i2's announcement, apparel maker VF Corporation, which markets Lee, Wrangler, Vanity Fair, Bestform and Lily of France brands of clothing, said it will become the first anchor tenant of SoftgoodsMatrix as part of a new electronic business initiative.

A growing number of manufacturers and technology providers have been jumping into the lucrative business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce market, building trading exchanges and large marketplaces that connect suppliers, partners and customers online. Oracle, for one, has made an aggressive push to tackle the fast growing market, which Forrester Research predicts will reach $1.3 trillion by 2003.