LivingSocial expands into merchandise deals

The company battling Groupon in online-bargain category is broadening its offering from services to stuff in order to keep pace.

LivingSocial said today it has branched into merchandise, a move that comes as the online daily-deal company tries to keep pace with sector leader Groupon.

Up to now, most of LivingSocial's bargains have been connected to restaurant meals, weekend trips and spa services. From now on, customers can visit the site to buy discounted merchandise. This is the company's first attempt at selling physical products.

The company, based in Washington D.C., is kicking off the offering with a day at the beach theme, offering such goods as tent gazebos, beach toys and towels.

Groupon already sells merchandise, having launched Groupon Goods last year.

Amazon and AOL founder Steve Case are investors in LivingSocial.

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