Online Retailers Lead Net Sector as Wal-Mart Faces Site Delay

In an unanticipated move, Wal-Mart said that its revamped Web site will not be launched until early next year -- after the crucial holiday season.
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Wal-Mart (WMT) - Get Report seems to be doing what it can to keep the notion alive that bricks-and-mortar companies will have trouble adapting to the Internet. As a result, gains in online retailers were leading TheStreet.com Internet Sector index toward the 700 level. It recently was up 30.96, or 4.6%, at 698.98.

Wal-Mart said its revamped Web site will not be launched until early next year after the crucial holiday season. While Wal-Mart does currently have a Web site, the new one is expected to be more inclusive, featuring more than 600,000 items, a travel service and a photo center. Wal-Mart did say that its current site will have an increased selection of toys, electronics, books and holiday decorative items.

News of the new site's delay wasn't anticipated. A story that ran in

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 1 quoted a Wal-Mart spokeswoman who said the redesigned site would be unveiled "sometime later this year."

Sara Zeilstra, associate director with

Warburg Dillon Read

, told

TSC

that she expected the online retailers to do well this holiday season with or without competition from Wal-Mart. And while the news did create a trading opportunity in the online retailers, Wal-Mart will eventually have an online presence.

"It's important to get there early and get there first, but the most important thing is to do it well," said Zeilstra. She mentioned that when companies like

Toys R Us

(TOY)

and

Barnes & Noble

(BKS) - Get Report

originally launched their Web sites, they were not done well and the companies suffered. But she said the bricks-and-mortar companies have been successful because they have been successful in serving customers and therefore still have potential "to be significant competition."

In recent trading,

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

was up 4 1/4, or 5%, at 82 11/16;

eToys

(ETYS)

was up 8 13/16, or 13%, at 77 7/16;

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

was up 8 5/8, or 6%, at 149 13/16; and

uBid

(UBID)

was up 3 11/16, or 13%, at 32 9/16. Wal-Mart was up 1/4 at 51 1/2.

AOL Still Seeking Deal With @Home

In an interview with

America Online

(AOL)

Chief Executive Officer Steve Case,

News.com

reported that AOL continues to have a dialogue with

Excite@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

about an alliance, but so far has not been able to agree on what the deal would entail.

In recent trading, Excite@Home was up 3 5/16, or 8%, at 45 3/8, while AOL was up 4 1/4, or 4%, at 117 3/4.

In other news related to Excite@Home,

Leo Hindery

, head of Internet initiatives at

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

, has resigned. Hindery has been the most outspoken AT&T executive against Excite@Home's hybrid strategy of marrying content with high-speed Internet access.