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Real Cities launches shopping guide

The Knight Ridder-owned city guides will point users to major online retailers.

Just in time for the holiday shopping rush, publishing giant Knight Ridder's online unit Real Cities has launched an online shopping service, the Real Cities Shopping Guide.

Analysts say online shopping will surge for the holidays. Since last year, households making purchases online have nearly doubled, up to 8.7 million from 4.5 million, according to Forrester Research. Some estimates have online holiday sales tripling over last year.

Real Cities has over 2.5 million users per month, according to figures released by the firm.

"A number of national studies indicate that persons who are heavy users of news and information online are also much more likely to be online shoppers," Knight Ridder New Media president Bob Ingle said in a statement.

Among others features, the shopping guide offers Barnes and Noble, eToys, and Ticketmaster online sales services. The site directs users to both local and national stores and provides yellow pages that provide directory to Real Cities business partners.

Other items available to shop for on the site include consumer electronics, computers. collectibles, sporting goods, gourmet foods, and housewares.

Forecasts for strong online holiday shopping sent e-commerce socks soaring today, as firms in the last few week have been beefing up their presence to meet the demand.

Vendors often pay a premium to have their online store featured across a network with a large user base. Financial terms for partners on the Real Cities Guide were not disclosed.