RealTime IT News

Upscaling The Shop@AOL

America Online Inc. , which grew itself into prosperity by appealing to the masses, is branching out into the world of luxury goods e-tailers.

Calling it the "Miracle Mile of the Internet," the interactive services company launched a new Luxury Shops area on Shop@AOL, the company's multi-brand online shopping destination.

Saks Inc.'s saksfifthavenue.com, the retailer's recently launched luxury e-commerce site, will be the leading merchant partner in the Luxury Shops area.

As part of the new area, InStyle.com, the online affiliate of InStyle - a celebrity, fashion and beauty magazine -- will offer shoppers fashion advice, commentary and purchase suggestions. Visitors to the new Luxury Shops area will also be able to purchase items featured on InStyle.com.

Also, BestSelections, an e-commerce platform connecting upscale shoppers with branded boutique retailers, will be featured in nine shopping categories in Shop@AOL, AOL.com, Compuserve and Netscape. BestSelections will be included in Jewelry, Shoes, Bags & Accessories, Home Furnishings & Decor, Department Stores, Men's Apparel, Women's Apparel, Art & Antiques, Gifts & Registries and Kids & Baby Clothing and Accessories.

Financial arrangements among the various companies were not disclosed.

The Luxury Shops area is designed to offer upscale shoppers access to designer apparel, fine jewelry, unique gifts and sophisticated fragrance and beauty items, AOL said.

InStyle.com will provide celebrity news, style trends, and beauty advice to Luxury Shops visitors and will also issue a daily "top pick" and "must-haves" for the wardrobe, beauty bag and holiday gift list.

"The combination of InStyle's fashion leadership, combined with the reach of AOL and the luxury merchandise of Saks and BestSelections, make our new Luxury Shops area the most comprehensive luxury shopping experience in cyberspace," said Patrick Gates, vice president of e-commerce at America Online. "We're providing trusted upscale brands, solution-based content and unique shopping opportunities for AOL members and visitors to our Web-based brands."