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Friday, 31 March, 2000, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Food stores create global marketplace
Tesco store
Tesco hopes the scheme will lead to lower prices
The UK's biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, is joining with 10 international food retailers to set up a global marketplace.

Marks & Spencer, Kingfisher and US giant K-Mart are also involved in the 63m ($100m) venture.

The WorldWide Retail Exchange will enable suppliers and retailers to trade goods.

"We've put together the biggest buying club in the world," said Tesco's head of supply and distribution, Philip Clarke.

"It will allow us to bring more products to the market faster and at lower cost."

Sainsbury's store
Sainsbury's has already launched a similar scheme
The announcement comes a week after Sainsbury's outlined details of its own e-commerce project.

The supermarket is investing 9.3m ($15m) in GlobalNetXchange, a venture with Sears and French retailer Carrefour.

Tesco said it had declined to join that partnership because it felt it was unequal.

It hoped to have its exchange running by the summer, although an internet partner had not yet been chosen.

Mr Clarke said the scheme would bring increased efficiencies to the supply chain which the company hoped to pass on to customers.

"We are already the lead in e-commerce amongst UK retailers," he added.

Mutual benefit

"We have chosen to do this with some of the best retailers in the world."

The two ventures are the latest examples of business rivals working together to harness technology for their mutual benefit.

Car worker
Car companies are looking to reduce production costs
Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler have set up an online component sourcing network.

They plan to put their procurement needs, worth $240bn a year, on a single exchange.

Suppliers represent more than two-thirds of the value of a vehicle, so the cost savings could be substantial.

Online procurement could also speed up the manufacturing process.

Renault and its Japanese partner Nissan have also signed up, but Volkswagen has decided to set up its own sourcing network, saying it was not keen to share secrets with its rivals.

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20 Feb 00 | Business
Supermarket price war intensifies
19 Jan 00 | Business
Tesco expansion creates 7,000 jobs
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