A little more than a year after opening a Church Street store to promote and distribute an iPhone application, Slicker Interactive has forged a partnership with one of the nation's largest shopping center owners and developers.

CBL & Associates, which owns Citadel and Northwoods malls, will launch a smart phone application called mallMerlin to guide shoppers to the stores and deals they want.

The free mobile application leads customers to the closest mall using the service, then shows the stores inside by proximity and which of those businesses offer the products the customer wants, according to Tommy Dew of Slicker Interactive.

Retailers who pay for extra features can offer digital coupons or other marketing pitches as the customer walks by their stories in real time.

The partnership takes Slicker's technology into 85 regional malls and more than 10,000 storefronts across the country. Dew said the technology should be available by this year's holiday season.

For more details, see Wednesday's editions of The Post and Courier.