Sears and Oracle Ink Online B2B Deal

Venerable American retailer Sears, Roebuck and Co. announced Monday that it will join with $50 billion (US$) French retailer Carrefour and software giant Oracle Corp. to form a global business-to-business (B2B) marketplace for the retail industry.

The Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears will share a majority stake in the new GlobalNetExchange venture with its Paris-based partner. Oracle, which will provide software, implementation and support, will take a minority stake.

The companies said in a joint press statement Monday that they expect the exchange to become operational within the next 30 days. It will have its own management team, employees and capitalization, and will eventually be spun off, the companies added.

Mammoth Savings

Sears and Carrefour said they expect the venture to “significantly reduce their purchasing expenses,” which total a combined $80 billion annually. The two companies will utilize the GlobalNetExchange to buy goods from their combined 50,000 suppliers.

Carrefour claims to be the largest retailer in Europe and Latin America, and the first international retailer in Asia. The firm has 680 hypermarkets, 2,260 supermarkets and 5,400 deep discount and convenience stores.

Sears has more than 850 full-line stores and 2,100 specialty stores in North America. In 1999, it had revenues of approximately $41 billion.

Other Companies To Join

The companies said that they will invite other retailers to join the exchange in order to buy, sell, trade or auction goods and services over the Internet by using standard browsers. The success of the venture will depend upon how many other retailers can be convinced to join the network, the companies added.

Sears expanded its online product inventory just last month, and plans to unveil an online bill paying system in the near future. Additionally, the company is aiming to offer consumers the option of ordering online and picking the merchandise up at its brick-and-mortar locations. Arthur Martinez. “It will forever redefine supply-chain processes, increase collaboration with suppliers and reduce supply-chain costs.”

Second Major B2B Deal in Week

This deal is Oracle’s second major B2B marketplace announcement in less than a week. On Friday, the company disclosed that its database technology will be incorporated into the giant automotive trading network that is being formed by Big Three automakers Ford, GM, and DaimlerChrysler AG.

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