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'Departures' Launching Unique Take on E-Commerce

Magazine launching 'anti-flash sale' site
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Flash sale sites like Gilt.com may have taken off lately, but Departures, the AmEx Publishing magazine that is sent free to those members, is taking a decidedly different approach to e-commerce. While sites like Gilt sell discounted items for a limited time, Departures is selling limited-edition products at full price, behind a firewall that only Departures readers can bypass.

Publisher Steve DeLuca calls the eExclusives program, which will sell products from Departures advertisers, the “anti-flash sales site.”

“Our readers don’t want what everybody else has,” he said. “They want things that are special, unique.”

"Unique" is a good way to describe it. The first items going on sale in September are a his-and-hers $1,990 handbag and a $1,645 iPad case made of horsehair from Akris. Departures readers will need to act fast. There are only 50 of them, available for a limited time. Items from Saks and Brunello Cucinelli are lined up to follow in the coming months.

As for whether items like the ones on sale will actually move off the shelf, DeLuca insists that despite the economic tremors, Departures readers haven’t tapped the brakes. “Our readers are not taking a pause,” he said. “They’re continuing to spend.”