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Amazon says Exclusives store sales top US$50m in first year

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Amazon.com Inc said that sales on Exclusives, its platform for products not available anywhere else, topped US$50 million in less than a year since its launch and the site includes more than 120 brands, the first time it has disclosed the data.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Amazon.com Inc said that sales on Exclusives, its platform for products not available anywhere else, topped US$50 million in less than a year since its launch and the site includes more than 120 brands, the first time it has disclosed the data.

The sales represents a tiny fraction of those on Amazon's third-party marketplace platform, which allows other merchants to sell on Amazon's site. Third party merchants account for roughly 40 percent of Amazon's total site sales.

But Amazon said the store serves as an important avenue for the retailer to get first dibs on new products that could be the next best-seller on the marketplace platform.

It is also part of Amazon's effort to target niche shoppers through stores like Handmade, which offers hand-crafted items, and Launchpad, which sells crowd-funded products.

Now the company plans to expand the site, which lists 10,000 products including a bluetooth-enabled "smart bag," although it did not provide details. "We do expect the broadening of the product categories and geographical expansion," said Peter Sauerborn, director of business development at Amazon who leads the store.

In order to be listed on the site, brands agree to let Amazon be the exclusive third-party retailer for their products.

In exchange, merchants gets access to the Fulfillment by Amazon program, which refers to the company's global network of warehouses and its fast shipping and loyalty program, Prime. "There's a whole new group of consumers (the third-party retailers) can draw to Amazon," said Seattle-based Christine Boerner, who runs Cielo, which sells fashionable metallic pillholders through Exclusives.

At the same time, rival shopping sites are also investing in one-of-a-kind merchandise. EBay Inc is returning to its roots by focusing on unique merchandise sold by smaller sellers.

An increasing number of Amazon's third-party merchants are drawn to Amazon's fulfillment program. Active merchants using it grew more than 50 per cent last year and delivered more than 1 billion items worldwide, the company said.

Stephan Aarstol, founder and CEO of San Diego-based Tower Paddle Boards who was connected to Exclusives on the TV program Shark Tank, is an example of why merchants might be interested in Amazon's fulfillment program.

Aarstol said he shipped "several hundred" paddle boards to Amazon's warehouse in the United Kingdom late last year and he expects his merchandise to be available to shoppers across Europe for fast delivery, something he could not have done on his own.

REUTERS