Wal-Mart Launches Online Marketplace

Wal-Mart Storessaid Monday it will launch an online marketplace with nearly 1 million items available through a number of retailers.

Tony Avelar

Walmart Marketplace, available at Walmart.com, includes such categories as home, baby, apparel, toys, sporting goods and memorabilia. More retailers are expected to be added to the program in the next year.

Retailers so far include CSN Stores, a provider of home, baby, toys, sporting goods and shoes; eBags, a bags and luggage retailer; and Pro Team, a subsidiary of Dreams , a provider of licensed sports apparel and collectibles.

With the wide-array of goods available, the site could emerge as a challenger for Amazon.com.

The move is an effort by Wal-Mart to strengthen its offerings online.

The world's largest retailer has held up better than many of its competitors as consumers slowed their spending as consumers have turned to Wal-Mart to find bargains.

However, in the latest quarter, Wal-Mart's same-store sales fell. Although the company also managed to top analysts' earnings estimates, the weak sales were seen as a sign of just how tough the landscape is for retailers these days.

Online, Amazon.com has dominated the shopping landscape. In recent months, the online retailer has been gaining share. Some believe consumers are attracted to Amazon because it allows shoppers to pick from a wide-array of goods.