Out2.com, a publisher of more than 12,000 online community newspapers, and Mall.com, a premier shopping destination, announced joined forces last week to bring name-brand shopping opportunities to Internet users. Out2.com now features Mall.com and its 120 top-tier retail brands as part of its shopping area in its 12,000 local community editions. "The alliance between our companies benefits users everywhere," said Bob Leonard, chief executive officer of Out2.com. "For the first time it is possible for a consumer on the Internet to be presented with the choice of shopping with local, regional or national retailers, all from one central place." Out2.com is organized like a newspaper, with local news, weather, and classifieds, among other sections. It includes an area called Out2Shop Downtown, where users can find a directory of local merchants offering products and services and a Mall.com location map. Shoppers can find links to local and top national retailers. "We feature some of the most well-known and highly regarded names in retailing, such as FAO Schwarz, Neiman Marcus and Harrods, to name a few," said Mall.com chief executive officer Larry Latham. "We are excited about bringing these retailers to communities throughout the US, where they can offer unique options and broader selections. While there is no doubt that local merchants will continue to provide valuable service to their communities, it is wonderful to provide consumers the upscale benefits