*Online Shops Bring Luxury to AOL

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America Online Inc. yesterday introduced a new luxury shopping area called AOL Luxury Shops to its Shop@AOL online shopping service.


AOL's partners in the Luxury Shops endeavor are upscale merchant Saks Fifth Avenue; InStyle.com, the online arm of Time Warner publication InStyle; and BestSelections, a luxury-oriented e-commerce site.


The new luxury site-within-a-site aims to provide AOL members with a place to buy high-end merchandise such as designer clothing, jewelry and other accessories.


As part of the arrangement, www.saksfifthavenue.com will receive premier placement in the Luxury Shops area of AOL as well as the CompuServe and Netscape online shopping destinations. Additionally, Saks will get broad exposure in AOL's Style & Fashion, Beauty & Accessories and Jewelry & Gifts categories.


"We're very excited about the possibilities that this new relationship with America Online offers, enabling us to reach out to AOL's 25 million members," Bill Haslam, president of Saks Direct, said in a prepared statement.


InStyle.com will offer expert fashion advice, commentary and purchase suggestions to AOL's luxury shoppers, while BestSelections will be incorporated into the Jewelry & Gifts category within AOL Luxury Shops.


"Working together, [AOL, Saks, InStyle.com and BestSelections] are providing trusted upscale brands, solution-based content and shopping opportunities for AOL members and visitors to our Web-based brands," Patrick Gates, vice president of e-commerce at AOL, said in a statement.

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