Frederick's Of Cyberspace

Can the Hollywood lingerie retailer turn its Web site into a "romance portal"?

The signs are plastered all over the hallways and offices at the company's headquarters, a warren of tiny offices and cubicles above the store on bustling Hollywood Boulevard: "Infrastructure or Bust." For Frederick's of Hollywood Inc., no double entendre is intended. During the busy Christmas season, the company's online business slowed to a crawl, effectively capping sales at about $50,000 a day. Clerks, typing Web orders int oa seperate distribution system, were making mistakes, leading to shipping errors. That's expensive when you're dealing exclusively in lingerie and underthings: Returned panties and swimsuit bottoms must be destroyed. "We were getting e-mails from customers complaining that the site was too slow, complaining that they lost the contents of their shopping carts, complaining about the shopping experience," says Gary K. Landry, CEO of Fredericks.com.

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