AOL GIVES CYBERLIFT TO SEARS

Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — AOL is going to help Sears find its cyber side.
A cross-marketing agreement between Sears, Roebuck & Co. and America Online links AOL to another major retail chain and gives Sears an online platform from which to pursue its goal of increasing its presence on the home improvement front.
The link will also give Sears customers an option for paying their credit-card bills online.
Both companies said that the alliance included plans to sell broadband access as the market develops, including the joint marketing of Internet-enabled devices, like mobile phones, satellite dishes and televisions.
Under the terms of the deal, AOL’s interactive products and services will be marketed to Sears customers nationwide. Sears merchandise and services will be marketed to AOL members and visitors to its various Web-based brands. AOL will provide prominent visibility and promotion of Sears’s online businesses.
A co-branded edition of AOL, with links to Sears, will be promoted to the retailer’s customers and made available in its 858 full-line stores.
Tuesday’s announced alliance isn’t AOL’s first such deal with a retailer. The service provider said in December that it was developing a co-branded edition with Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Sears recently announced its intention to link with Oracle Corp. and Carrefour to launch GlobalNetXchange as the first worldwide online supply marketplace for retailers.
AOL members will be able to pay for their monthly subscriptions through the Sears credit card, and Sears customers will be able to review their statements and pay their monthly bills electronically through AOL.

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