Amazon.com Broadens Online Offerings



Amazon.com Inc. is branching out beyond books and music. Theonline retailer yesterday added a video store and a holiday gift store to its site, featuring consumer electronics, toys, and software. Though the expansion appears to challenge new competitors, it could be a blessing for online retailers who specialize.

"As Amazon gets into more and more product categories and tries to become an increasingly broad brand name, it's going to create opportunities for people who are content to just own a large portion of one product category," says Ken Cassar, an analyst at Jupiter Communications.

The opportunity isn't lost on Amazon.com's chief rival, Barnesandnoble.com. "We are going to stay focused on books and related intellectual property products," says Jeff Killeen, president at Barnesandnoble.com. "It is our goal for the marketplace to say Barnesandnoble.com is the place where book lovers go as an E-commerce site of first choice."

Amazon.com proved it can succeed outside the book market this fall when it launched its music store and rocketed to the No. 1 spot in music sales before the merger of its nearest competitors, CDnow Inc. and N2K Inc.

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