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Have personal computer? Can food shop from home

DETROIT -- Instead of looking in the refrigerator to see what there is to eat, some Michigan residents may be able to satisfy their appetites with their personal computer.

Great Scott will become the first Michigan grocery chain to offer consumers food shopping via personal computer under an agreement between the grocer and Prodigy Services Co. of New York.

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The service will begin in October at 33 Great Scott stores in the Detroit Metropolitan area, said Paul Coleman, communications director for Meadowdale Foods Inc., Great Scott's Detroit-based parent company.

The Great Scott-Prodigy service is believed to be the most extensive test to date of whether consumers will take to the idea of shopping for food by personal computer.

Several details, including delivery prices and minimum purchase requirements, are being decided, Coleman said Tuesday. About 6,000 food and household items yet to be named will be available for delivery, or eventually, store pickup.

'It will be the same as shopping in the store,' Coleman said. 'It's a nice convenience, for people to save themselves time.'

Prodigy, a partnership of IBM and Sears, Roebuck & Co., became available in the Detroit-Ann Arbor area in March. The company has about 50,000 family subscribers in 16 cities.

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Great Scott is one of several grocery chains offering Prodigy's computer grocery shopping service.

The service began operating late last year with Kroger Co. in Atlanta and the Grocery Express shopping service in San Francisco, said Brian Ek, a Prodigy spokesman. Prodigy began offering computer grocery shopping with D'Agostino's in New York.

Besides the grocery shopping service, Prodigy subscribers can access shopping information from K mart, stock prices from Dow Jones and information from Consumer Reports magazine. Clients also can make airline reservations and obtain information on their bank accounts from some banks. More than 160 companies have signed on with Prodigy.

Prodigy's monthly subscription costs $9.95. Subscribers must buy start-up kits, sold at retailers. Costs are $49.99 for the software and three months' service. The other option is $149.95 for the software, modem and three months' service.

Prodigy's goal is to build a network of millions of home subscribers in the early 1990s.

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