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Home Shopping For Women's Wear

BusinessWeek Investor -- Inside Wall Street

Home Shopping for Women's Wear

Retail stocks have taken it on the chin, and United Retail Group (URGI) is no exception. Its stock skidded from 15 last May to 7 on Dec. 30. It has since inched up to 11 1/16 , as it embarked on a fresh growth strategy. A specialty retailer of large-size women's apparel at 500 outlets of The Avenue, United is going online with its Shop-At-Home unit. It has formed a partnership with Xceed, which helps companies with e-commerce, to set up a service-oriented Web site to promote its Shop-At-Home concept.

More important, Wit Capital, the online investment bank, is expected to take an equity stake of up to 5% in United's Shop-At-Home unit. Wit is to provide strategic partners and help United launch its Internet business. "It's possible United could end merging with a larger company," says one investor. He says Wit has signed on as adviser to help United develop a business-to-consumer strategy for the Shop-At-Home unit. When United spins off the unit, Wit will be the investment banker and take an equity stake. One investor expects United will earn $1.50 in 2001, and $1.80 in 2002, up from an estimated $1.20 in 2000. United and Wit declined comment.By Gene G. MarcialReturn to top

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