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Retail roundup: Amazon launches flash sale site, Microsoft store coming to Century City, retail sales, Volcom acquisition

May 7, 2011 |  6:06 am

-- is launching a membership-only flash sale site, MyHabit, joining a host of similar sites such as Gilt and Rue La La. Private sale sites offer large discounts on designer apparel and accessories for a limited time. Amazon said its site would offer daily events featuring up to 60% off a "curated selection of styles from the best brands" including Elizabeth and James, Halston and Vera Wang. It also said it would offer free shipping and free returns.

-- Microsoft is continuing its retail expansion by opening a store at Westfield Century City. The store will be the 11th Microsoft Store in the world and the fourth in California, the company said. Microsoft opened its first retail store in October 2009 in Scottsdale, Ariz., to engage more directly with its customers. A company spokeswoman declined to say when the store would open.

-- Major chain stores did better than expected in April, posting an 8.9% year-over-year sales increase, according to Thomson Reuters. Discounters and apparel sellers, particularly those catering to teens, did especially well. But analysts say they expect consumer spending to moderate over the next few months.

-- Action sports brand Volcom announced that it had agreed to sell itself to Paris-based PPR for $607.5 million. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

-- Andrea Chang