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.

Home Shopping for Women's Wear

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.