Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK —, a new business-to-business site, wants to match buyers with sellers of in-season and closeout apparel via virtual auctions.
“The premise is that the auction mechanism will establish a market price on merchandise as quickly as is possible,” said Peter R. Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of Tradeweave, during a visit to New York this week from San Francisco, where the new Internet venture is based.
The content portion of opened Wednesday, but the auction area will not debut until Jan. 3, so that the site’s merchant partners can be trained in its use, and any bugs can be worked out, Johnson explained.
The content area will provide prospective purchasers of apparel and related goods and services with information about the site’s industry partners, before they proceed to the upcoming password-protected auction area.
The content channel, open to the public, contains four segments: industry news and trends, industry events, a help feature and a directory incorporating the addresses and Web sites of a range of players in the retail supply chain, such as stores, vendors, mills, distributors and factors.
When it opens next month, the auction area will facilitate apparel purchasing at full wholesale prices, prior to a retail selling season; markdowns on goods as a season progresses, and deeper discounts on surplus merchandise that remains after a season concludes.
The site’s visitors will be able to participate in online auctions by downloading a package of software tools, provided by Tradeweave, free of charge.
Merchandise available from the site’s partners is updated with each transaction. Transactions may be executed via links to the sellers’ Web sites or their 1-800 numbers.
Tradeweave’s revenue will come from a 5 percent transaction fee, per auction, Johnson said, and may eventually be boosted by the sale of online ads, whose placement initially will be offered free to the site’s partners. Dillard Department Stores said in a statement from Tradeweave Wednesday that it has signed on as one of the site’s launch partners. Tradeweave is a unit of QRS, which, Johnson estimated, will produce revenue of about $135 million this year by offering electronic data interchange services to companies such as Federated Department Stores and Liz Claiborne.

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