Amazon.com, not content with cornering the books, music and video market, is diversifying into the luxury goods market in a bid to become the ultimate online superstore.
Under a scheduled deal Amazon.com will pay $10 million for a 16.6 per cent stake in luxury goods merchant Ashford.com. The agreement, which starts immediately, will run through 31 December, 2000, confirmed the companies.
Amazon.com will market a range of Ashford.com's goods online, including Rolex watches and Montblanc pens, to Internet customers who have more than the average consumer to spend on gifts.
The deal will give Ashford access to Amazon's 13 million online customers, although only a small percentage are likely to be interested in high-end luxury goods.
The agreement comes on the heels of Amazon's decision to take over Back to Basic Toys, an online and catalogue toy retailer, and Tool Crib, a DIY store. Amazon also owns minority stakes in Drugstore.com, Pets.com, Homegrocer.com, Della & James and Gear.com.
Despite its buying spree, four year old Amazon has yet to turn over a profit.
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