Zappos.com, a U.S. company that is regarded as the world’s largest online footwear retailer, has agreed to purchase the assets of a U.S. competitor, 6pm.com, formerly known as shoedini.com, for an undisclosed figure. Last year Zappos had gross merchandise sales of about $597 million, and it is expecting roughly $800 million in turnover in 2007, following the acquisition, although around 90 percent of the products sold by 6pm.com are also found on Zappos’ site. Aside from mostly footwear, the two e-tailers sell handbags and other accessories.

Some industry analysts suggest that Zappos’ move will be followed by many others within the online retailing world. Since the ascension of online retailing, there have been many small e-tailers selling a lot of the same things. It’s inevitable, some observers argue, that there will be a consolidation in the electronic commerce business.

Zappos will continue to operate 6pm.com, which is owned by ebags.com in Colorado, as a separate entity. 6pm.com is led by Jon Nordmark, the chief executive and co-founder of eBags.com. Zappos continues to be run by Tony Hsieh, chief executive.