Internet retailer Amazon.com is taking another step to grow its share of the global online apparel market with the launch of a US private sale website offering discounted designer brands.

The new membership-only MyHabit.com offers daily ‘flash’ sales events featuring up to 60% off a selection of women’s, men’s, and children’s wear brands such as Elizabeth and James, Halston and Vera Wang, along with fast, free shipping and free returns.

“We think customers will love this shopping experience,” said Maria Renz, president of MyHabit.

The site, which has been developed by Amazon.com follows recent initiatives by the world’s biggest online retailer as it seeks to move its business beyond books, toys and electronics.

These include the launch of its Outdoor Recreation Store and its Denim Store, its acquisitions of Zappos.com and BuyVIP.com, a refocus on high-end fashion retailing, and exclusive collections such as Heidi Klum for New Balance.

Members-only private sale shopping sites provide a win-win for both brands and consumers. For brands, they are a useful way of offloading unsold merchandise away from the view of the general public, and without undermining a brand's reputation. For shoppers, they offer a chance to snap up a designer or boutique brand at a low price.

The new MyHabit site from Amazon competes with other invitation-only shopping sites like Gilt Groupe, HauteLook, Vente-Privee and Rue La La.