09/12/2012 08:31 am ET Updated Nov 12, 2012

'The Giant Sucking Sound In Retail'

PATTERSON, Calif. -- At the moment, it is little more than dirt and gravel. But a sunbaked field at the edge of this farming town will play a significant role in one of the most ambitious retailing ventures of the era: the relentless quest by the online mall to become all things to all shoppers.

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