Wal-Mart, Books-A-Million Join Forces Online

From Bloomberg News

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer, said Books-A-Million Inc. will be the exclusive provider of books for its online customers, sending the book retailer's stock up 84%.

The shares of Birmingham, Ala.-based Books-A-Million climbed $6.34 to close at $13.88 on Nasdaq, with a volume more than 36 times its three-month daily average. The stock was the fourth most active in U.S. markets.

The companies didn't disclose financial terms of the arrangement, which comes as Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart continues to build its Web site to offer a wider variety of goods online.

Wal-Mart introduced its online service, http://www.wal-mart.com, in 1996. The site reached 1.3% of U.S. Web users in May, with 801,000 unique visitors that month, according to New York-based research firm Media Metrix Inc. Annual figures weren't available.

Books-A-Million, with 177 stores in 17 states, mostly in the southeastern U.S., will fill Internet orders for Wal-Mart from its Florence, Ala., distribution center.

Wal-Mart, whose shares fell 50 cents to close at $47.75, operates 2,451 stores and 453 Sam's Clubs in the U.S. and 725 stores overseas.

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