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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Amazon puts corn flakes on menu
Amazon.com food website
Amazon has come a long way from its origins as a bookseller
Online retailer Amazon has begun serving up soup, breakfast cereals and other basic foods on its US menu.

Amazon is now offering 2,000 basic packaged foods as part of its drive to become the number one destination for online consumers.

Shoppers can pick up 70 individual Kellogg's Corn Flakes portions for $28.

If more than $25 is spent, Amazon also pays for delivery - a decision experts say shows its determination to take on other discount and mail order grocers.

The focus on bulk sales of non-perishable items allows the firm to take on big US names like Wal-Mart and Costco.

Growth targets

While founder Jeff Bezos had aimed to turn Amazon into the Wal-Mart of electronic retailing when he launched the group 10 years ago, with a company mantra of "get big fast", the company recently revealed a drop in net profit for the last three months of 2005.

Despite a small rise in sales, net profit for the three months to 31 December came in at $199m (112m), compared to $347m the year before.

Analysts have suggested that Amazon may be losing market share to traditional retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, as well as auction sites like eBay and even search internet site Google.

But the company is not just targeting the "pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap" end of the market.

Under its "gourmet food" section, shoppers can buy filet mignon steaks, food gift baskets and even French truffles.

And the more discerning shopper in search of a bargain can save more than $3,500 on a 4lb tin of Russian Beluga caviar in Amazon's sale - paying $9,120 for a tin.

But whether the strategy will pay off has yet to be seen.

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