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Amazon.com Looks for a Hit With Sporting Sales

Amazon.com is looking less and less like an online bookseller these days.

The Seattle-based e-commerce player announced on Monday its entry into the lucrative sporting goods space, launching a beta storefront to hawk products in a range of categories -- from archery to basketball to cricket to skateboarding.

Amazon.com said its new sporting goods store would feature products from more than 3,000 brands covering more than 50 sports. Featured merchants include apparel giant Nike, Toys-R-Us, The Golf Warehouse (TGW) and Kirkland-owned Altrec.com.

To sweeten the pot for shoppers to use the beta store, Amazon.com is offering a $10 promotional certificate for any purchase over $50.

The entry into the sporting goods market is significant for Amazon.com, which started out as an online bookseller in the early days of the dot-com boom. Since then, the company has expanded into hawking CDs and DVDs, apparel, electronics, toys, magazine subscriptions, even tools and hardware.

With the addition of sporting goods and equipment, Amazon.com has slowly established itself as an online superstore. The company also plans to launch on online music download store early next year to compete in that red-hot market segment.

Separately, New Jersey-based Toys-R-Us announced that its kids-targeted sporting goods would be featured prominently in Amazon.com's beta store. The new Sports-R-Us site is promising more than 30,000 items ranging from sporting goods to apparel, games, footwear, fitness equipment and collectibles.