Sears, Villa to Create Online Site

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Sears, Roebuck and Co., Chicago, said Friday it will enter into an online home improvement venture with TV personality Bob Villa.

The new Web site will be located at the same address as Villa's current one,

Sears will own a majority interest in the site, which is expected to launch sometime in the third quarter. It will provide ideas and plans for home improvement, as well as help finding tools for contractors. Sears, which sells tools through its own e-commerce site, was attracted to Villa because it gives the retailer access to online information from the personality's books and television shows, the company said.

Sears sponsors Villa's syndicated home improvement show "Bob Villa's Home Again."

The joint venture will seek strategic partners and alliances to round out content, technology and e-commerce offerings.

Sears, the nation's number two retailer, is facing increased pressures from companies like Target and Home Depot and plans to increase its online offerings. Last week the company said it would join Oracle Group and French retailer Carrefour Supoermarche SA to create a business-to-business supply exchange for the retail industry. Sears also said recently it would expand its own online offerings to include lawn and garden and home electronics to its Web site.

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