Online bookstore Amazon.com, determined to pull in as many christmas shoppers as possible, is opening an Internet movie department and a virtual ?holiday gift store? with goods ranging from cuddly toys to cameras.
Five months after it began selling music, Amazon.com has branched out into video and DVD-formatted movies and gifts in a bid to push its estimated 4.5 million loyal customer base into spending more, maintain analysts.
Amazon.com has chosen a good time to expand - online shopping is expected to flourish this christmas as more and more consumers discover it is a safe, hassle-free way to buy presents at any time of day.
Consumer sales are expected to rise to $2.8 billion online in November and December from $1.1 billion in the year-ago period, according to Jupiter, a new media research company.
Recently launched Amazon.co.uk, however, has no plans to expand its virtual shop front at the moment. "We sell books, thats it," commented a spokesperson for Amazon.co.uk.
As well as toys and inexpensive stocking fillers the gift store includes bigger ticket items such as the Palmpilot III electronic organiser and a digital camera. If you are stuck for ideas there is gift suggestion section for the person who has everything.
Rapid expansion means that Amazon.com could actually exceed analysts estimates for the current quarter and speed up the time it will take for the company to make money. Amazon.com has lost more than $115 million so far, as it spends heavily on marketing and acquisitions to build it brand name globally.
Analysts, however, are not expecting Amazon.com to go into high price tag items, such as PCs, as the inventory costs would be crippling.
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