Retailer sharpens edge on Barnes & Noble

Online books and music retailer Amazon.com on Tuesday said it would begin selling movies, both on videotape and DVD, along with a variety of electronics, games and toys, just in time for the Christmas shopping season.

The move ratchets up the competition in online commerce, giving Amazon an edge, at least for now, in its competition with retailing giant Barnes & Noble, which recently added music and computer software to its sales roster. Amazon had already started offering music and some gift items.

The Seattle-based company’s stock soared $22.25 to close at a 52-week high of $148.50, in reaction to the announcement.

Analysts expect Amazon’s move to movies and gifts to help the company dominate online sales of such items just as it has dominated book and music sales on the Internet.

Amazon.com said it will offer more than 60,000 theatrical videos and more than 2,000 DVDs. Online video retailing rival Reel.com offers 100,000 videos and 2,300 DVD titles through its Web site.

Separately, Amazon’s Gift Store service will sell a range of electronics, gadgets, games and toys that can be gift-wrapped and shipped to others.

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