IS THE INTERNET A NEW KEY TO RETAILING SUCCESS?

The Internet – that mushrooming web of computer networks – is fast turning into a giant electronic shopping mall. Retail sales on the ’Net totaled $2.4 billion last year and are expected to hit $4.8 billion this year. A third of all United States retailers now use the ’Net for merchandising, and the number grows by the day, if not by the hour. Where does the jewelry industry fit in? Though relatively small, it’s one of the ’Net’s fast-growing retail categories. Online jewelry sales came to $38 million last year and should reach $56 million this year, according to Forrester Research Inc., a leading Internet consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass. True, that’s tiny compared with annual jewelry sales of some $35 billion, but business is building rapidly. Online traffic now doubles every 100 days, and electronic jewelry sales will soar 250% to at least $140 million by 2001, For
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