MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Deluxe Corp., the nation's largest check printer, is getting personal.

And it expects to pay a price before turning a profit.

Deluxe said Wednesday that it expects revenue and operating profit to be flat or fall slightly in 2001, compared with this year, as it begins selling personalized gifts and decorative items over the Internet.

The company's Web site, plaidmoon.com, offers personalized items _ such as engraved glassware and dishes _ home office accessories, sporting goods and pet supplies.

Deluxe is betting that consumer demand for personalized products will drive the business forward. For instance, online shoppers can have their own drawings or photos put on the items, or they can choose from among hundreds of images available on the Web site's gallery.

Keith Menzel, an analyst who follows Deluxe for John G. Kinnard & Co., predicted it will take several years for the e-commerce expansion to have a positive impact on the company's bottom line.

``They have a business that's highly profitable but not growing. They had a choice of sucking as much as they could out of it in the next 5 to 10 years or starting some new growth initiative,'' Menzel said. ``I think they're taking steps in the right direction.''

Deluxe officials came up with the idea after spinning off eFunds Corp. in June. Planning the future of their company, Deluxe believed its strengths were direct marketing and electronic commerce ability, said Larry Mosner, Deluxe's vice chairman.

Deluxe shares closed Wednesday unchanged at $22.438, above the 52-week low of $21.1875 and well below the peak of $38.125.

___

On the Net:

Deluxe Corp.: http://www.deluxe.com