The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today said it plans to become the first food retailer to purchase perishable goods through a new partnership of GlobalNetXchange (GNX), the leading global business-to-business online marketplace for retailers, and TradingProduce.com, the premier B2B Internet site for the food and agriculture industries.

Kroger, which is an equity partner in GNX, will gain access to more than 270 suppliers and producers of perishable goods that are members of TradingProduce.com. Among the products sourced through TradingProduce.com are produce, meat, seafood and floral items. Kroger expects to begin using the new e-commerce platform in early 2001.

"The alliance between GlobalNetXchange and TradingProduce.com should help reduce costs for both Kroger and our perishables suppliers by improving the supply-chain process and automating certain functions that currently are handled manually," said Derrick Penick, group vice president of perishables merchandising and procurement.

He said the new platform will allow Kroger and its suppliers to operate more efficiently. For example, using the information system platform provided by GNX and TradingProduce.com, Kroger eventually will be able to monitor the progress and expected delivery time of a perishables shipment en route to one of the Company's warehouse facilities. The system also will allow Kroger to identify potential discrepancies between purchase orders and invoices in "real time" as delivery trucks arrive at the Company's facilities.

"We ultimately expect to be able to eliminate 90% of the discrepancies between invoices and receipts that we experience today," said Horace Hamilton, vice president of produce merchandising and procurement.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kroger is the nation's largest retail grocery chain. At the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2000, the Company operated 2,338 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under more than a dozen banners, including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Smith's, King Soopers, Dillon, Fry's, City Market, Food 4 Less and Quality Food Centers. Kroger also operates 789 convenience stores, 397 fine jewelry stores and 42 food processing plants.

About GlobalNetXchange

GlobalNetXchange is the leading operational business-to-business retail online marketplace, open to all retailers and suppliers. Powered by Oracle Exchange, Oracle's online e-business marketplace, GNX utilizes the Internet to seamlessly connect trading partners across extended retail supply chains and integrate supply with consumer demand. GNX equity partners include Kroger; Carrefour, SA; Metro AG; J. Sainsbury Plc; Coles Myer; Pinault-Printemps- Redoute SA; and Sears, Roebuck and Co. More information is available at www.gnx.com

About TradingProduce.com

TradingProduce.com is a privately held company that specializes in developing Internet-based, automated workflow systems for the agricultural industry. More information is available at www.tradingproduce.com