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HomePortfolio, an online home furnishings company, said yesterday that it is reinventing itself as an application service provider for the furniture industry.

HomePortfolio, Newton, MA, established in 1996, is fleeing the e-commerce market at a time when many dot-coms have either folded or are in dire economic straits, such as, backed by Amazon, which closed last month, and which is in the process of mass layoffs.

Rich Morrison, vice president at HomePortfolio, said that consumers need more time before deciding to buy such important items.

"The market, consumers and manufacturers are just not ready to buy online," Morrison said in a prepared statement. "Our belief is that sometime in 2002, enough consumers will have become comfortable enough to shop online to make opening a Net furniture store profitable."

Part of HomePortfolio's redesign will be taking on the task of building and hosting Web sites, creating online catalogs and performing market research for manufacturers and e-tailers.

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