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Yahoo stocks its shopping site

Ahead of the holiday buying season, Yahoo is busy revamping its online shopping site to offer used, liquidated and overstocked goods.

    Ahead of the holiday buying season, Yahoo is busy revamping its online shopping site to offer used, liquidated and overstocked goods.

    The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company also plans to launch a new shopping home page that will become a one-stop shop for all the portal's buying sites. The new page will include tabs for Yahoo classifieds, auctions, other storefronts and new "Warehouse" areas.

    Yahoo representatives said the site's new organization should boost traffic and sales to each individual shopping area. Norm Hullinger, vice president and general manager of Yahoo's auctions and Warehouse sites, denied that the strategy was designed to simply bolster the company's flagging auctions area.

    "We launched the product because we spoke with our consumers and merchants," Hullinger said. "They called out for the product."

    Yahoo has been hit hard by the economic downturn, struggling amid a slow advertising market. Last week, the company reported a net loss of $24.1 million, or 4 cents a share, for the third quarter. Revenue dipped to $166.1 million.

    With fears that sales will continue to fall, Yahoo has been actively seeking other sources of revenue--albeit with mixed success.

    Earlier this year the company introduced fees for its online auctions. Although Yahoo said that the number of successful auctions increased after the decision, the total number of auctions listed on the site fell to about 10 percent of what they were before the fees.

    Yahoo's new Warehouse site is just the latest in a number of marketplaces for liquidated and used goods. Last year, eBay bought fixed-price used goods site Half.com. Amazon.com also last year introduced Marketplace, a service that allows merchants to sell used goods right next to new products online.

    Earlier this year, FairMarket introduced online outlet malls for customers such as Dell Computer and JC Penney. Companies such as Overstock.com have also set up marketplaces for used and liquidated goods.

    Yahoo says it will continue to charge merchants separate fees for each shopping service they use, such as auctions or Warehouse. While Yahoo charges a fee for each auction listing, it plans to charge sellers a commission for sales made through Warehouse.

    In contrast, Amazon offers merchants a flat-rate subscription plan that gives them an unlimited number of listings on Marketplace and 40,000 auctions, or storefront listings, each month for a set price. Yahoo says it plans to stick by its strategy, despite its difference from Amazon's plan.

    "Our merchants were telling us that that's not what they were looking for," Hullinger said.

    This year's holiday season could be slow, affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and concerns that the United States has entered into a recession.