September 6, 2013, 4:12 PM

Retail chain Stein Mart debuts an online store

The discount fashion and housewares retailer operates more than 260 U.S. stores.

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Retail chain Stein Mart Inc., which sells off-price fashion and housewares in stores across the United States, has opened its first e-commerce web site, it announced today. The move comes after customers expressed the desire to be able to shop anytime, it says. The retailer says it also aims to increase its customer base with e-commerce.

“As we learn more and grow this business, we anticipate that this channel will rapidly become our largest flagship ‘store,’” says Stein Mart CEO Jay Stein.

Stein Mart was founded in 1908 and today operates more than 260 stores in 29 of the continental U.S. states. The online store offers much of the same merchandise as the bricks-and-mortar stores, with some additional online-only offerings, the retailer says. It allows shoppers to create online wish lists and search friends’ wish lists. Customers can also type in their ZIP codes to find available coupons in their area and print them to take into stores; for now, those coupons work only offline, the web site says.

Stein Mart did not immediately respond to a request for further details.

Competing discount retail chain TJX Cos. Inc.is also planning to launch e-commerce in the near future, which will be the second time it has tried online selling, the company has said. And earlier this month, Swedish retail chain Hennes & Mauritz AB, better known as apparel retailer H&M, which operates nearly 300 stores in the United States, began selling online to U.S. customers.

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