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Facebook starts selling retail gift cards on website

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc introduced gift cards on Thursday that consumers can use at Target Corp and a handful of other businesses in the social network's latest move into the retail market.

Consumers in the United States can buy the cards for their Facebook friends and choose from four different businesses: Target, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vitton SA's Jamba Juice and Darden Restaurants Inc's Olive Garden.

A card can hold multiple gift balances, each dedicated to a specific retailer, Facebook said.

The world's No. 1 social network, with more than one billion users, Facebook is gradually offering more retail services, though it relies on advertising for the bulk of its revenue.

Last year, it launched a feature that allows users to send retail goods, such as sunglasses and pastries, to their friends on the social network.

Facebook Finance Chief David Ebersman tempered expectations about the new gifts business in its quarterly earnings conference call with analysts on Wednesday.

While Facebook believes online commerce has "long-term potential," the current revenue from such efforts is very small and will remain so throughout the year, said Ebersman.

Shares of Facebook fell 13 cents at $31.10 in mid-day trading.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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