PIGGLY WIGGLY WEB LINK SET FOR RETAILERS, JOB SEEKERS

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Piggly Wiggly Co. here will expand its newly launched World Wide Web page to enable independent retailers to target potential employees as well as hold on-line business discussions with other members.The retailer's Web page (http://www.pigglywiggly.com), which began operating late last month, will eventually serve as a link to individual pages run by the organization's more than

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Piggly Wiggly Co. here will expand its newly launched World Wide Web page to enable independent retailers to target potential employees as well as hold on-line business discussions with other members.

The retailer's Web page (http://www.pigglywiggly.com), which began operating late last month, will eventually serve as a link to individual pages run by the organization's more than 750 independent members, said Danny Barnwell, vice president of merchandising.

"It's important to have a better communications base with all of our stores," he said. "The plan is to tie our home page with individual store pages, which will hot-link back and forth to the original site."

Having communication links between store-level and corporate-level Web pages will enable Piggly Wiggly corporate officials to send electronic mail to its independents, thus reducing paperwork and greatly speeding up communications with the stores, Barnwell said.

In addition, the retailer plans to create on-line "chat rooms" that will enable store owners to communicate inexpensively with and get advice from other Piggly Wiggly retailers.

"We're looking at having a forum set up for different topics, whether it's advertising, promotions, new ideas for grand openings or a new idea for the Web page itself," Barnwell said.

To help get its members on-line and set up with their own Web pages, Piggly Wiggly is now surveying the technology used by each of its members and will provide introductory software to stores without links to the Internet.

"We're going to be offering a specific piece of software for everyone to log onto that will automatically have the Piggly Wiggly home page as a start-up page," he said.

Independent retailers' pages will be designed by the retail services advertising department of Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City, which designed the main Piggly Wiggly site.

Barnwell said a key selling point for independents to create their own pages is the potential of reaching a broader audience of potential employees.

The retailer hopes soon to enable potential employees to locate a store near their home on the main Piggly Wiggly site, access that store's Web site and see what jobs are available, and, if interested, fill out an application on-line and send it to the store.

Piggly Wiggly is especially interested in targeting local high school students and plans to contact local school guidance counselors when job listings for area stores become available on-line.

By simplifying the job search and application process for Internet users, Piggly Wiggly also hopes to gain a better-educated and reliable work force. "It would bring employees of a high caliber and high intelligence level," he said. "They could be from all walks of life: almost every school now has a computer system installed."

Besides reaching a wider number of potential employees, Piggly Wiggly hopes to build a new customer base of Internet users who are curious about Piggly Wiggly's name. "Our name brings a lot of intrigue and questions [from Internet users]. Our site has already been hit significantly just by those people who are interested in what 'Piggly Wiggly' is," Barnwell said.

Piggly Wiggly responds to any consumer queries via E-mail.