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Hey Wendy,

It sounds like your Web Developer might be using Magento. Is that right?

Magento allows exactly what you’ve said in your earlier post in that you can share a catalogue of products across websites.
Additionally it allows you to enter different descriptions/names/tags for the same item so that the description that appears depends on which website you are viewing it through.
e.g. If I look at ‘Widget 9000′ in websiteA.com then the description might read “allows you to prosper widgets’
Whereas if I look at Widget 9000 in websiteB.com then the description might read “You can prosper widgets with this widget’

Thus you can have the products on both websites without them duplicating content even though they share a backend and catalogue. (and thus not falling foul of the SEO issue)

SEO wise, you may be starting from scratch for the new website in terms of rank etc.. I think.