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NEW YORK — The American flash sale market just got a little more crowded.

Vente-Privée USA, the joint venture between American Express and France’s Vente-Privé, launches today with an event involving Paul & Joe Sister by Parisian-born designer Sophie Albou.

The venture plans to elbow its way into the increasingly crowded flash-sale sector by leveraging the strength and network of Vente-Privée’s 1,450 European brand partners and American Express’ marketing expertise — sales events will feature high-definition videos, state-of-the-art photography and original music — and database of over 30 million cardmembers at launch.

Like other flash-sale sites, the joint venture serves as an intermediary between branded firms and consumers using a business-to-business-to-consumer format. Vente-Privée USA, at, features premium European and American brands at up to 70 percent off, with each day’s sale beginning at 10 a.m. EST and lasting 72 hours.

Each venture partner invested around $35 million in cash and an estimated $5 million in human capital and technology transfers. They expect turnover of $500 million within three to four years.

Mike Steib, chief executive officer of Vente-Privée USA, said the launch will feature one brand a day initially, possibly two, with a gradual ramp up of events just before the start of the holiday shopping season.

According to Steib, the initial outreach will be to the millions of American Express cardmembers who get the monthly paper statement, as well as those who get the newsletter, and on the American Express Web site. Fulfillment, logistics and customer service are all done in-house.

“We’re building a service to brands to help move excess inventory, while protecting the brand and its full retail prices. We’ll do events that make each of these sales a special occurrence so that the customer doesn’t expect [the specific brand event] to happen all the time,” Steib said.

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