*Sears, AOL Reach Marketing Agreement

Sears, Roebuck and Co. and America Online Inc. said yesterday the companies have formed a strategic alliance that includes cross-marketing and promotional agreements.

AOL will become the Hoffman Estates, IL-based retailer’s preferred Internet access service, and AOL will be marketed to Sears customers. Sears’ merchandise and services will be promoted to AOL members through the online portal’s services and Web site.

A new co-branded version of AOL, with links to Sears, will be promoted in Sears stores, and Dulles, VA-based AOL will develop a co-branded version of its Instant Messenger for Sears.

In addition, Sears Card customers will receive special offers through AOL and be able to pay for AOL services with their Sears card.

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