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Amazon Launches Travel Store

Continuing its push to open new online stores in conjunction with established players, Amazon.com opened a new travel store in conjunction with Expedia, Hotwire and National Leisure Group's The Vacation Store.

Seattle-based Amazon said the new store features booking services and the latest travel status information from Expedia .

Discounted travel for the flexible traveler is offered through Hotwire's specially negotiated Hot-Fares and Hot-Rates, and cruise vacations through The Vacation Store. Also available are travel-related items culled from other Amazon.com stores.

Amazon, which started life as a bookseller, has been moving aggressively to sign storefront alliances with established partners. Earlier this month the e-tailing giant inked a deal with Minneapolis-based Target Corp., which operates about 1,000 discount stores across the United States and competes with Kmart and Wal-Mart. Before that came a new computer store deal with Ingram Micro Inc. and a new corporate accounts program, as well as a deal with the 600-store-plus Circuit City chain of electronics stores. There's also a toy store operated in conjunction with Toys "R" Us.

As for travel, the idea is a one-stop shop for Amazon customers, although the timing may be less than fortuitous, given the recent slowdown in airline bookings following the attack on the United States.

"We've taken the hassle out of searching for travel-related products by building the Travel store, where customers can find, discover and buy any travel-related product they need," said David Risher, senior vice president of marketing and merchandising at Amazon.com.

Later this year, Amazon.com's UK subsidiary, Amazon.co.uk, will be launching its own travel store in partnership with Expedia.co.uk, the company said. Financial terms of the various agreements were not disclosed. Expedia is in the process of being acquired by Barry Diller's USA Networks.