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(July 23, 2001) -- Two of the nation's leading discount chains today moved to take greater control of their dot-com operations.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., announced it has bought out the minority share Accel Partners, Palo Alto, Calif., had in Walmart.com. The move is intended to better integrate the "brick and clicks" in the pursuit of new businesses such as prescription drugs and gift registry. Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but Wal-Mart said in a statement it would take a charge of 1 cent per share in earnings for the quarter ending July 31.

Jeanne Jackson will continue as president and CEO of Walmart.com and operations will remain in Silicon Valley.

The Web site has been struggling over the years to find the right e-commerce formula. Most recently, Walmart.com dropped apparel sales, even though Ms. Jackson, formerly with The Gap's Banana Republic division, counts fashion as a strength.

Separately, Kmart Corp. also announced plans to acquire the minority share of San Francisco-based Bluelight.com LLC, an independent company in which Kmart has majority ownership. The deal will close on or before Aug. 1, pending shareholder approval. Softbank Venture Capital and others formed Bluelight.com in 1999. -- Alice Z. Cuneo

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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