Amazon in talks with traditional retailers: Report
Amazon is looking to strengthen its grip on the online retail industry by featuring items on its site from well-known stores such as Lord & Taylor and Neiman Marcus, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Citing "people familiar with the talks," the Journal said Amazon is working with a group of about 10 retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew and Ralph Lauren, to list their brands on the online mecca's website.
The links would direct shoppers to each individual retailer's website, according to the report. Amazon would make money by charging a fee for sending customers to the retailers' sites, and collect another payment for subsequent purchases.
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Amazon would also gain leverage from the deal by obtaining data on a new bout of customers.
Amazon, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ralph Lauren and Neiman Marcus told CNBC they had no comment on the report. The other retailers mentioned above diralpd not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If a deal shakes out, it would be the latest step in Amazon's quest to beef up its apparel offerings. The online retailer announced in 2012 that it would be making a push toward more high-fashion labels, and sells designer brands such as Calvin Klein, Rebecca Minkoff and BCBG Max Azria. Ralph Lauren also currently sells a range of items directly through the site.
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It would also allow Amazon to more effectively compete with Google, Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told CNBC. Studies have shown that Amazon is eclipsing the search engine as a place to start research. So in the absence of being able to sell the apparel brands directly, this is the second best thing Amazon can do.
"It's a win-win for them," she said.
The tie-up could potentially give a boost to the web operations of traditional brick-and-mortar shops. Mulpuru said that having a presence on Amazon is similar to having a presence on Google, and that's how retailers are justifying the spend. But it remains to be seen whether the move will be an overall positive for traditional stores, who in the past have competed with the site.
"There's as much that's questionable as good about it," Mulpuru said.
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According to the Journal, the tie-ups could begin this summer.
To read the complete report from The Wall Street Journal, click here.
—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson. Follow her on Twitter @KrystinaGustafs.