Amazon branches out and up

The online bookstore adds toys, gifts, videos to its lineup--and sees its stock skyrocket 22 points.

Amazon.com's stock jumped 22 points today after the opening of its video and holiday gift store.

Amazon.com's stock rose 17.6 percent today, closing at 148.5 after the company announced that it opened a video store and a "holiday gift store" that includes personal electronics, games, gadgets, and toys.

The firm will have 60,000 videos and more than 2,000 digital video discs on its roster. The gift store will sell items that Amazon.com expects to be popular as holiday gifts, such as computer software, toys, and games.

The company began selling music in June and surpassed its online music rivals, N2K's Music Boulevard and CDnow, in sales for the third quarter.

"It's one destination where shoppers can meet all of their gift-giving needs at any time of the day at one convenient location,'' chief executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

Amazon.com will continue to run the gift store after the holidays, although the items sold might change. It's stocking all the gift items in its distribution centers in Seattle and Delaware.

"For the gift center, we went into product areas and asked users what types of gifts they would like,'' said Amazon.com vice president Rick Ayre.

The videos are sold with as much as a 30 percent discount. Amazon.com's video store will compete with Hollywood Entertainment's Reel.com and others.

Copyright 1998, Bloomberg L.P. All Rights Reserved.

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