In The News

Posted: July 14, 1999

INTERNET I

Amazon.com adds toys,

electronics to inventory

Amazon.com, the largest on-line retailer, will add stores for toys and electronics to its Internet site to expand its gift offerings ahead of the Christmas holiday shopping season.

Both stores, which opened yesterday, are believed to be the largest on the World Wide Web, said Chairman and Chief Executive Jeffrey Bezos. The electronics store will offer brands and products from camcorders to computer peripherals and TVs.

The toy store will feature both hot-selling goods from major vendors and smaller products from specialty brands. Other retailers also are preparing for an expected boom in Internet sales this holiday. On-line toyseller eToys will add children's books, while electronics chains Circuit City and Best Buy are setting up stores on the Web.

INTERNET II

Time Warner, Sony

to buy CDNow

Time Warner and Sony, two of world's largest media companies, agreed to buy on-line music and video seller CDNow and combine it with their Columbia House venture to add customers and gain access to a wide variety of advertisers. Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed. Once the transaction is completed, Sony and Time Warner will each own 37 percent of the new public company and CDNow shareholders will own the remaining 26 percent, the companies said. CDNow pioneered in selling music on-line but lost its early lead to bigger, better financed rivals such as Amazon.com.

Columbia House, the top music and video club in the United States and Canada, generated $1.4 billion in sales last year, while CDNow, the Internet's No.2 music retailer after Amazon.com, had $98.5 million.

AUTOMAKERS

SUV sales climbing

faster than other cars

While sales of sport utility vehicles continue to increase faster than any other segment of the automotive market, demand for some models is leveling off as the category becomes more crowded.

Industrywide, SUV sales were up 11 percent in the first half, while the entire car and light truck market was up 7 percent.

Demand has fallen among models that have not been redesigned in several years. Newer models continue to sell robustly.

Sales of DaimlerChrysler's Dodge Durango, for example, were up 37 percent in the first half and 27 percent in June.

Ford's big Expedition was up 13 percent in the first half, while the midsize Lexus RX300 was up a whopping 149 percent.

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