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Dixons Joins WorldWide Retail Exchange

[London, ENGLAND] Europe's largest consumer electronics retailer Dixons Group plc has joined the WorldWide Retail Exchange (WWRE) along with two other major retailers, it was announced Monday.

The other retailers to join the e-marketplace this week are Dansk Supermarked, which operates more than 700 stores in Denmark, Germany, Poland and the U.K., and Edeka, the German wholesale food cooperative with 11,000 stores.

Barry Knichel, a WWRE executive committee member and director of supply chain research and development at Tesco, said the addition of these three major retailers was a strong boost to WWRE's membership.

Dixons Group, which originated Europe's first free Internet access service Freeserve, has over 1,500 stores in the U.K., Ireland, Scandinavia, Spain and Portugal.

Dixons also trades in the U.K. through its household appliance stores Currys, its PC supermarkets PC World, telecom stores The Link, and online through @jakarta. It trades as Elkjøp in the Nordic region and as Ei-System in Spain and Portugal. It also owns 15 percent of Greek electrical retailer Kotsovolos.

Recently, Dixons' Currys chain laid down a challenge to newcomer Wal-Mart in the U.K., declaring that it would beat any advertised Wal-Mart price by £10 (US $15) on electrical products over £200 (US $300) in its Bristol stores.

The WorldWide Retail Exchange is one of a new breed of Web-based business-to-business exchanges that enable retailers to trade with their suppliers. Recently characterized by a leading magazine as the "revenge of the bricks," they are consortia of rivals who have a shared interest in protecting their businesses against up-start dotcoms.

The use of exchanges by their member companies is still in its very early stages, although the larger ones, like WWRE, are rapidly gaining critical mass. Retailers on WWRE have combined sales of US $487 billion.

Other members of WWRE include Albertson's, Best Buy, CVS, Gap, J.C. Penney, Safeway, Target, and Walgreen Co. from the United States, as well as such European companies as France's Auchan, Belgium's Delhaize Group and Spain's El Corte Ingles. U.K. members include Marks & Spencer and Tesco.



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