MAY, WEDDINGNETWORK.COM TO RUN ONLINE BRIDAL CENTER

Byline: Arnold J. Karr

NEW YORK — May Department Stores and WeddingNetwork.com are planning to tie the knot on the Net this summer.
The two companies have joined together in a letter of intent to form an Internet-based service center for engaged couples that is expected to make its debut by the end of the summer.
WeddingNetwork.com, a unit of Internet Gift Registries, will create Web sites including content, registry and gift sales for all May name plates except Lord & Taylor, which has no home department and therefore doesn’t provide bridal registry services.
The divisions’ sites will be integrated with Wedding-Network.com’s site. WeddingNetwork.com is the official online registry and content partner of Modern Bride magazine.
“The wedding business is a very attractive e-commerce opportunity for May,” said Gene Kahn, president and chief executive of the St. Louis department store company.
“Our nationwide registry and gift program through 343 of our 422 quality department stores is one of the country’s largest.
“This takes our service one step further, extending our gift registry capabilities to the Internet.”
Modern Bride group publisher Doug Fiarro noted that the two companies have had a longstanding advertising relationship and that the new alliance will generate “more sales for May and more opportunities for the world’s largest bridal company to serve engaged couples and their guests.”
Under terms of the agreement, May will purchase an unspecified equity stake in Internet Gift Registries. Primedia Inc. has an existing stake in IGR and is the parent of Modern Bride, its Web site and 16 regional editions.
IGR provides similar services to Bed Bath & Beyond and other retailers.
The proposed bond between Wedding Network and May is similar to Federated Department Stores’ relationship with WeddingChannel.com, which provides online registry and content services for Federated’s divisions and other stores.
Federated has a stake in WeddingChannel.com as well. Federated recently said it registers about 200,000 engaged couples per year.

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