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E*Trade Group Inc., furthering its effort to diversify, opened a second bricks-and-mortar financial superstore, this one in Denver, offering customers personalized interaction with licensed financial service advisers. And not to be outdone, rival Internet brokerage Ameritrade said it is offering a broad suite of brokerage and investment tools to Federated Department Stores Inc. . The services are accessible through .iTrust.com, Federated's newly created financial services web site.

Menlo Park, Calif.-based E*Trade, which earlier this week indicated that its mortgage business is booming, said the superstores are designed to "give customers a more comprehensive financial services offering through a high-tech, high-touch experience."

The company's New York store opened on April 4 as E*Trade, feeling the heat from a sharp decline in online trading activity, opened a store in Midtown to hawk a range of Internet trading services.

The Denver store is approximately 3,700 square feet and lets customers open accounts in person, make financial transactions in their E*Trade Bank and E*Trade Securities brokerage accounts, participate in educational seminars and receive personal assistance. The center is equipped with 15 computer desktop stations to allow customers to handle transactions on their own.

The center also offers 12 plasma screens that display original E*Trade content and daily financial news programming.

"E*Trade Center - Denver marks the successful advancement of E*Trade's physical touchpoint strategy, offering our customer households in the Denver area an easier and more convenient way to manage their wealth throughout the various stages of their financial life cycle," said Jerry Gramaglia, president and chief customer operations officer at E*Trade.

E*TRADE is opening three additional superstore locations in San Francisco, Beverly Hills and Boston. The company said it will be rolling out grand opening events for these locations over the next several months.

Meanwhile, Omaha-based Ameritrade, which provides the technology and financial planning infrastructure for the Federated site, said that Federated's 20 million active proprietary credit cardholders and its 129,000 employees now have access to the Ameritrade trading platform. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

"Ameritrade's relationship with Federated and our role in building iTrust.com furthers our segmentation strategy, specifically developing new distribution channels to grow our Institutional Client Division," said Joe Moglia, chief executive officer of Ameritrade.

The company said it opened 25,000 new accounts in October for a total of 1,813,000.