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eBay runs with designer fashion store

After a trial last fall, the Fashion Vault officially opens with "flash" sales that hawk designer clothes at deep discounts.

eBay is now in the fashion business.

The online auction company officially launched its Fashion Vault site on Monday where it's teaming up with fashion retailers to offer designer clothes at healthy discounts for short periods of time.

eBay Fashion Vault
eBay's Fashion Vault eBay

To attract price-conscious customers who crave designer labels, the site will rely on "flash" sales lasting from 48 to 72 hours. Rather than bid for the clothes in a typical eBay auction, interested shoppers will use the Buy Now option. Shipping is thrown in for free.

eBay said it assures that all the items in the Fashion Vault come from sellers authorized by designers. So buyers apparently won't have to worry about the potential for counterfeit goods.

Although the Fashion Fault isn't set up like a typical auction, eBay said it that doesn't own or produce any of the items. The company does work with the designer brands to negotiate the listing deals. But otherwise, eBay said, it collects the usual listing fees and other charges based on the volume of business.

To mark this week's official opening of the Fashion Vault, eBay is offering womens' clothes at up to 60 percent off from the French Connection Group. The next sale starting April 5 will feature designer watches for men and women, also at up to 60 percent off. The Fashion Vault has a Twitter feed to announce the latest sales.

Fashion Vault had a trial run last fall. Consumer demand and sales were both high, eBay said, prompting the company to officially open the store.