updated 7/20/2004 4:06:24 PM ET 2004-07-20T20:06:24

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. — which pulled out of selling apparel online three years ago — is giving it another try, offering a selection of fashions through its Web site in time for back-to-school shopping.

The world’s largest retailer said its site, walmart.com, offers apparel under 15 different brands in regular and special sizes for men, women and children. The new online feature began Tuesday.

Brands offered will be Wal-Mart’s exclusive lines such as George, Faded Glory and White Stag as well as national brands like mary-kateandashley, named after the teenage TV celebrity Olsen twins, Wrangler and Rider, the company said.

School uniforms are also available through the site.

Walmart.com spokeswoman Amy Colella said the company offered clothing online when it launched its Web site in 2000, but apparel was pulled from the site in April 2001. The company stopped offering apparel online because of problems related to costs, availability and the price at which the clothing could be sold, she said.

“We now have a more streamlined logistics procedure and have a more comprehensive assortment,” Colella said.   Wal-Mart says customers will be able to return items through the mail or at local Wal-Mart stores.

The Bentonville-based retailer says its site includes shopping tips on apparel trends and advice on building a wardrobe.

Wal-Mart has taken a more cautious approach to selling apparel online compared with its rivals.

Target offers a plentiful offering of dresses, skirts, swimwear and blazers online, under such names as Mossimo, Isaac Mizrahi and Cherokee. In late 2002, Kmart.com begun selling some exclusive clothing brands such as Sesame Street and Joe Boxer.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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