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Oracle To Buy Advanced Visual Technology

The retail software maker's products help store owners decide how to arrange stores and manage retail space for best product placement.

Oracle on Wednesday agreed to acquire the British firm Advanced Visual Technology, a supplier of 3-D space-planning software for retailers.

The terms of the deal weren't disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

Advanced Visual Technology can present a photo-realistic view of individual stores, then allow a retailer to work with suppliers and partners to design the floor space around the product lines available, Oracle said in announcing the acquisition. Retail is a vertical application market that Oracle has targeted since its acquisition of Retek in 2004 and, more recently, 360Commerce in January.

Oracle is competing with SAP in the retail applications space and is expected to continue to buy application suppliers in the retail space. Up-front applications, such as Advanced Visual Technology, help store owners decide how to arrange stores and manage retail space for best product placement. Such applications are expected to be integrated in the future with Oracle's back-end applications that analyze sales data and project where consumers are spending their money.

Advanced Visual Technology supplements Oracle's financials and back-end business intelligence with storefront "boots on the ground" retail know-how, said Stuart Williams, analyst with Technology Business Research.

Existing Oracle applications cover retail merchandising, inventory, point of service, returns handling, promotion optimization, and master data management.

Employees of AVT will join Oracle's Retail Global Business Unit.

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