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ROCKY HILL, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE) -- In-Store Kiosks Bring New Shopping Options to Ames' Customers and

Weekly Circular Goes Online With Website Update

Ames Department Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMES) today announced significant advances in the Company's ability to conduct electronic commerce and communicate through the worldwide web.

Shoppers at select Company Stores will now be able to expand their shopping experience at Ames by purchasing items directly from the discount retailer's new e-commerce providers at electronic kiosks in the stores. Developed in conjunction with IBM Global Services, which provided integration services for the kiosks and e-commerce software, the strategy extends the Ames store beyond its four walls with offerings not available in the store.

Customers will be able to easily purchase flowers and jewelry at pcflowers.com, select specialty foods and gifts at hickoryfarms.com, get quick and clever problem solvers to make life easier around the home at improvementscatalog.com, shop for fine plus-size women's apparel at silhouettes.com, and purchase distinctive and highly functional kitchen and home products for entertaining and decorating from kitchenandhome.com. Merchandize fulfillment for imrovementscatalog.com, silhouettes.com and kitchenandhome.com will be provided by Keystone Direct.

This new Ames shopping experience will be accomplished through the installation of state-of-the-art touchscreen kiosks in select Ames Stores. The first in-store test began last week. Ames online shoppers also will be able to link to the Company's electronic vendors from the Ames' homepage on the internet.

Visitors to http://www.amesstores.com will now find a sleek, redesigned web site which features the Ames weekly circular as well as specialty circulars such as the holiday Toy Book. A major new feature is "Bargains By the Byteful," the digital introduction of the Ames weekly sales circular to our online customers. Kicking off this innovative, interactive feature is the famous Ames Toy Book. Web visitors of all ages are able to view their favorite toys, add them to the electronic holiday shopping list, as well as look for the latest money saving e-coupons. Online visitors to the redesigned website will also find a new Corporate Opportunities section including College Recruiting pages, as well as updated material on corporate governance and investor relations.

Joseph R. Ettore, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ames, said, " The introduction of the in-store kiosks allows us to offer enhanced services to customers who don't have access to internet shopping. The kiosks and the redesign of the online site mark important milestones for The Company in e-commerce and electronic communication, and provide a strong first step in continued expansion into the world of electronic commerce."

The redesign of the Ames website, done in conjunction with internet provider Net56 www.net56.net, also features partnerships with excite.com, which provides online visitors with the latest breaking news and information, and a store locator powered by MapQuest.com.

With over 455 stores, including the recently acquired Hills stores and certain former Caldor sites, located in 19 states and the District of Columbia, Ames is the nation's largest regional, full-line discount retailer with annual sales of almost $4 billion. Ames offers a broad range of merchandise categories including family apparel, housewares, domestics, electronics, ready-to-assemble and patio furniture, jewelry, craft and pet supplies, health and beauty care items, stationery, sporting goods, toys, seasonal products and more.

<<Business Wire, 11-15-99, 11:30 Eastern>>

CONTACT: Ames | Tara Malatesta Kevin Roche | Public Relations Specialist Director - Public Relations | (860) 257-5412 (860) 257-2574 | tmalatesta@ameshome.com kroche@ameshome.com | IBM | David Caplan | Media Relations Manager | Phone: (914) 766-4529 | Caplan@us.ibm.com


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