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American Express Taking Daily Deals Upscale

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For many Americans, daily deal websites are inclusive affairs, with sites like Groupon and Living Social boasting 30 to 50% savings on everyday items from clothes to cupcakes.

Now American Express is taking the daily deal concept uptown. The company announced this week that it will team up with French deal website vente-privee.com to offer daily discount deals on luxury goods, especially designer clothes and shoes. Both companies specialize in marketing to affluent customers. The new site, which does not yet have a name, will open at the end of 2011.

“(T)his is a tremendous opportunity,” Jacques-Antoine Granjon, vente-privee’s billionaire founder, told the San Francisco Examiner. “Amex is one of the world’s best brands, with 42 million card holders. We can combine our specific know-how with their reach.”

American Express will bring its name recognition and reams of consumer data to the deal, helping the new site target deals to specific types of people. Vente-privee brings its relationships with luxury brands, which use the site to sell excess inventory without sullying their reputations for exclusivity.

Vente-privee started in France in 2001 as one of the first daily deal websites. It now operates in seven European countries. This will be its first time selling goods in the U.S.

Both AmEx and vente-privee “have a heritage in the luxury market and place a high premium on delivering quality customer service,” Dan Schulman, chief of enterprise growth for American Express, said in a press release. “We will now combine our skill sets to deliver experiences that are unmatched in the U.S. market.”

The two companies are equal partners in the new venture, and they have “invested a few tens of millions of dollars each to start,” Granjon told the Examiner.

Image: Roger Price, via Flickr.com

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