By  on March 16, 1994

NEW YORK -- As part of an overall strategy to produce programming that drives business at the retail level, Value Vision, a home shopping network in Minneapolis, has signed an agreement with Service Merchandise Co., a $3.8 billion company with 390 catalog stores in the United States.

Under the six-month agreement, Value Vision will test-market a range of Service Merchandise products on its home shopping programs.

Robert L. Johander, Value Vision's chairman and chief executive, said the agreement with Service Merchandise is representative of a major trend among retailers to build sales through television home shopping networks.

Service Merchandise will sell jewelry, electronic items and other hard goods on the shopping network.

Value Vision, through its recent merger agreement with National Media, an infomercial company in Philadelphia, is also planning on using infomercials as tools to drive retail sales.

Johander said Value Vision will begin using its own production facilities to develop infomercials, then test them cheaply on the Value Vision home shopping network.

That way, he said, the company can determine whether an infomercial has enough promise to warrant the expense of buying national media time for a full-fledged launch.

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