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Peapod to Upgrade Online Grocery Store

Online grocer Peapod Inc. said it plans a relaunch of its Web site, featuring a new version of its Internet supermarket.

This version, expected to be available by September, will complement Peapod's existing high-performance shopping system powered by its proprietary SuRF technology, the company said.

The new Web site, using Internet-standard programming and protocols, will provide for broad access to Peapod for anyone using a Web browser, including via personal computers, Web-enabled televisions, high-speed cable services and future devices. Additionally, the new version will more universally address the requirements of corporate networks, providing easier access to Peapod members who shop while at work.

Peapod said its SuRF-enhanced shopping application, released earlier this year, was the first step in the company's strategy to make its functional e- commerce service broadly available via the Internet rather than through direct dial-up. It combines the multimedia capabilities of the Web with Peapod's WinSurfer application controls.

The new Web site will offer an alternative to Internet shoppers who cannot access Peapod's SuRF-enhanced version, who choose not to install the SuRF software components, or who do not require the enhanced speed and functionality of the SuRF version.

"Over time, we expect the addition of the new Web site and e-commerce system to positively impact membership and order volume and to enable us to conduct more aggressive Internet marketing activities," said John C. Walden, chief operating officer. "Additionally, as we transition current members from our dial-up service to our Internet versions, we anticipate cost savings from reduced telecom charges and more efficient content development."