New York - The National Retail Federation (NRF) has joined the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) in support of an Internet sales tax. Exempting e-tailers from collecting sales tax creates an unfair subsidy that penalizes brick-and-mortar merchants and state and local communities, says NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. Both organizations have joined the e-Fairness Coalition, a group of real estate and retail professionals seeking to influence Congress' upcoming decision regarding its three-year moratorium on Internet taxation.

Bellevue, Wash. - Advancing its new concept in full-service online grocery shopping, Albertson's Inc. has opened its first Albertsons.com store and fulfillment site. The store offers a pickup location for shoppers who order their groceries online, as well as those who prefer conventional in-store shopping.

Palo Alto, Calif. - Wal-Mart.com Inc. is an independent company recently formed by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark., to accelerate development of its website and attract more offline customers to the Internet. An additional benefit of the new company will be a reduction in the number of states and municipalities for which Wal-Mart is obligated to collect sales taxes. Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel Partners signed on to help create the company. Wal-Mart, however, retains majority interest.

Toronto - A web-based e-concierge service has been installed for tenants at Toronto Eaton Centre, a three-tower office development managed and 75% owned by Cadillac Fairview Corp. The free, personalized service allows tenants access to leasing information, register requests and report maintenance issues online. Cadillac Fairview plans to install the program at all its office properties in 2000. The company's retail centers could follow suit.

New York - With 4.9 million users, African-Americans make up the largest ethnic minority group online, according to a report from Internet consumer management company Cyber Dialogue. Research shows that 28% of U.S. adult African-Americans are online, compared to 37% of the total adult white population.

Redmond, Wash. - Simon Property Group is embracing e-commerce through its new partnership with Microsoft Corp. As part of a promotion ending this month, consumers can purchase Microsoft's MSN Internet Access 5.0 at MALLPeRKS Marketplace customer service centers in 120 Simon malls nationwide. In exchange for getting connected, consumers receive a gift certificate redeemable at all Simon properties.

Centerlinq, a network of freestanding computer kiosks that provides Internet access to mall shoppers, is expanding into six malls belonging to Bloomfield, Mich.-based The Taubman Centers Inc., including the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. The kiosks feature 40-inch plasma screen monitors for sponsorship advertising and can be used by consumers to obtain information about mall services, including sales, coupons and promotions. More information on the Centerlinq network can be found on the website of its Los Angeles-based creator, GenesisIntermedia.com.

Claritas, San Diego, makes demographic site reports and maps easily accessible via its redesigned website at sitereports.com. Claritas' online demographic reports reveal income and occupations, retail trade potential, nearby tenant mix, area trends, and lifestyle and purchasing patterns of an area. Reports can be purchased via credit card, a billed account or an unlimited annual subscription.

Boston-based Collaborative Structures has introduced version 2.3 of its web-based project communications hosting service, FirstLine. Designed specifically for the real estate and construction industries, FirstLine features popular document compatibility, online project event calendars, a reminder feature and a cross-project inbox. For more information, visit costructures.com.

Novato, Calif.-based Accountmate Software Corp. has released Visual AccountMate Real Estate Manager for Microsoft SQL Server 7.0. Visual AccountMate performs various functions, from storing applicant data and dealing with complex leases to analyzing tenant sales performance. According to the company, the software gives mid-size management companies a chance to use database-limited software that can grow with their business. For more information, visit accountmate.com.