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Force Is With Amazon Winners

Americans will be seeing a lot of Madonna, Darth Vader and Dockers khakis in their stockings this holiday season, if Amazon.com is any guide.

On Friday, the leading Web store put out its list of top-selling products from Nov. 1 through this past Tuesday. Among them were not only Madonna's latest album, Confessions on a Dance Floor and the DVD of the latest installment of Darth Vader's story, Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, but also khaki pants, an atomic clock and a DVD player priced at $39.99.

Although the day after Thanksgiving is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, online shoppers typically start days or weeks earlier to allow time for products to be delivered. And while Amazon's revenue is a small fraction of retail giants such as Wal- Mart and Target (TGT), the company's sales are large enough and its selection broad enough to be indicative of larger trends.

Amazon's results could be good news for Apple Computer (AAPL). The No. 2 and No. 3 bestselling electronics products were the 2GB black iPod nano and the 512MB iPod shuffle, both Apple digital music players.

Whether buoyed by the Amazon news or not, Apple investors were bullish on the stock on Friday, sending it to another all-time high. In recent trading, the company's shares were up $1.78, or 2.7%, to $68.89.

The $40 DVD player made by CyberHome was the top-selling consumer electronics product on Amazon's site.

Star Wars appears to be a popular theme this holiday season. Not only was Star Wars III the top-selling DVD, but Star Wars: Battlefront II for Sony's PlayStation 2 game console ranked No. 3 among top-selling video games on the site.

The top-selling video game on Amazon in November has been a special edition version of Sid Meier's Civilization IV, the latest iteration of the popular strategy game franchise. The result is a welcome bit of news for Take-Two Interactive (TTWO), which recently acquired the Civilization franchise as well as its developer Firaxis Games. Take-Two warned last month that it wouldn't meet analysts expectations for its fourth quarter and its 2006 fiscal year, the latest in a string of disappointments for the company.

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