JCPenney, Cap Cities, GTE plan mall network


Three of the nation's largest companies have announced that they expect to form a joint venture by early 1993 to provide an array of communications services to more than 1,000 shopping malls.

JCPenney, GTE Spacenet Corp. and Capital Cities/ABC plan to launch Advanced Retail Communications in the 1,150 malls that have JCPenney outlets, said Jean Davis, a GTE spokeswoman.

That includes JCPenney stores at five Maryland locations, including Security Square Mall in Woodlawn, Lake Forest Mall in Gaithersburg and Valley Mall in Hagerstown.

The venture would deliver television, audio and data services to the retail outlets through a satellite and ground-level transmission network.

Retailers would receive background music, ABC videos includingsports and women's programming, and a computer network that could be used for check and credit approvals.

"With this venture we are allowing smaller companies to take advantage of leading-edge communications tools," Ms. Davis said. "By working in a shared environment, the tools are more cost effective."

Yesterday's move came one day after International Business Machines Corp. and Sears, Roebuck & Co. announced a similar agreement to create Advantis, which would be one of the world's largest computer information networks. Advantis would operate voice and data networking systems, as well as design, develop and integrate custom networks that companies operate themselves.

However, Mr. Apter said ABC, GTE and JCPenney, by putting their resources together, should be able to provide superior service.

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