RealTime IT News

AOL Shoppers Head for the Basement

Brand name discounter SmartBargains signed a deal with America Online, to become a premier merchant in the new Shop@AOL Bargain Basement area.

AOL also made an undisclosed equity investment in SmartBargains.

SmartBargains sells merchandise at prices up to 80 percent off retail in categories such as home decor, consumer electronics, men's and women's apparel, jewelry and kitchen appliances.

Shop@AOL's Bargain Basement is an area dedicated to providing shoppers with brand-name merchandise at discount prices.

The agreement also allows AOL members to receive exclusive "first looks" at a selection of SmartBargains' merchandise, in addition to receiving exclusive access to selected items from SmartBargains' inventory of name-brand goods. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SmartBargains is a start-up that just launched this month. Its Web site is up, but not yet functioning. Michael Frieze, chairman and acting chief executive, is also chief executive officer of Gordon Brothers Group, a liquidator of excess consumer products. SmartBargains' president, John Kerney, is the former chief operations officer of Gordon Brother, with which the company has an allliance.

AOL members can access the Bargain Basement at AOL Keywords Bargains, Bargain Basement and SmartBargains.