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Wal-Mart Designs New Web Site

October 1, 1999

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will focus its redesigned Web site on toys and consumer electronics, taking on already established Internet merchants Amazon.com and eToys.

The nation’s biggest retailer revealed a few details Friday of its new site. More information was expected in the coming weeks as the company prepares for the start of the holiday shopping season.

Industry analysts expect Wal-Mart’s push online to change the entire retail business on the Internet, given its ability to keep prices down and sophisticated method of collecting consumer and product information.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa Brown said the site will offer toys and electronics, as well as Christmas decorations and other holiday items. Eventually, she said, customers may be able to ``personalize″ the site, putting in their zip codes to get specific information about Wal-Mart stores near them.

The company also will have computer kiosks in its stores so shoppers can shop on line for items available elsewhere through Wal-Mart, she said.

Wal-Mart has been online since 1996, but hasn’t been a major player in the Internet marketplace to date. In recent months, it has been working to makeover its site, improving both its product selection and how it will get merchandise to customers.

Wal-Mart has hired Fingerhut, a direct marketing company, to handle all of their orders and ship the good to customers. The company also signed a deal with Books-A-Million Inc., the third-largest bookstore chain, to supply and deliver books for its online store.

Wal-Mart also has plans to redo the site for its Sam’s Club warehouse stores and is reconsidering holding online auctions through Sam’s.

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