TECH TALK

NORTH SITE: The North Face, which designs, manufactures and sells outerwear, plans to launch an e-commerce web site this fall. According to the company, the site “will display the breadth and depth of North Face’s entire product line and will include sites for business-to-business retail ordering and a consumer site.” In addition to outerwear, the company designs tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and other outdoor equipment and accessories. In the next few months, North Face, Carbondale, Colo., plans to open outlets in Dawsonville, Ga., and Desert Hills, Calif.

NET STYLE: Styleclick.com, formerly ModaCAD, last week introduced an updated version of its web site, Styleclick.com. The site features enhanced shopping capabilities, including a live “style consultant.” In addition, the site features a “lifestyle collections” section that provides a specialized shopping experience where shoppers can search by designer, department or lifestyle. Shoppers can also search by price, category, style and color. Los Angeles-based Styleclick said it will introduce three shopping channels this fall, for accessories, bath and beauty products, and kids’ merchandise.

CASE COUNT: Y2K-related computer problems have spawned 74 lawsuits in state and federal courts as of June 30, according to a report from the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York.
Not counting multiple cases filed against the same defendant, the total drops to 45.
“With the exception of insurance cases, we may find that there is a lull in the number of cases filed between now and the end of 1999,” said Philip Upton, a PricewaterhouseCoopers partner and the report’s author. While litigants have been relatively restrained so far, the number of lawsuits and insurance claims for year 2000-related problems could increase sharply after Jan. 1, when computer failures could be widespread.
The report covers the period before President Clinton’s July 20 signing of the Year 2000 Information Readiness and Responsibility Act, which provides companies with a total of 90 days to rectify Y2K-related problems and puts a cap on some damages. Of the suits already filed, 65 percent are noncompliant product cases. Suits filed by aggrieved shareholders are only 13 percent of the current crop, but that could grow if a company’s stock price dips because of year 2000 problems.

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