Target Is Out, Amazon Is In as Toys ‘R’ Us’ New Online Sales Partner

Toys “R” Us has a new e-commerce partner.

The toy retailer’s digital and fulfillment services, which had been supported by Target since October, are now in the hands of Amazon. Today, shoppers who browse and select merchandise on the ToysRUs.com website will be redirected to the product’s page on Amazon.com where they can purchase the item.

FN has reached out to Toys “R” Us for confirmation on the move, which was reported by Forbes last week. Target and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Adapting its business to a digital landscape had been a challenge for Toys “R” Us, which sought Chapter 11 protection in September 2017 after it amassed a hefty debt load stemming from a private equity buyout and continued to face heavy e-commerce competition from the likes of digital powerhouses Amazon and Target. It announced in March 2018 that it would shut down its entire brick-and-mortar fleet in the United States and United Kingdom.

Toys “R” Us’ bankruptcy rippled across the retail industry, leaving billions of dollars in holiday toy sales up for grabs. Target was among the businesses that battled for a portion of the toy maker’s market share: It reallocated a quarter-million square feet of space specifically for toys in 500-plus stores across the country and updated more than 100 of its remodeled stores.

In October, the big-box chain partnered with the toy retailer’s parent company, Tru Kids Brands, to facilitate the relaunch of ToysRUs.com ahead of the critical holiday shopping season. At the time, Target said its strategy was to “bring back the Toys ‘R’ Us brand in a modern way through a strong experiential and content-rich omnichannel concept.” (In July, however, industry publication The Toy Book reported that Target and Toys “R” Us put an end to their partnership.)

As part of a joint venture agreement between Tru Kids and retail tech start-up b8ta, Toys “R” Us also introduced smaller-format, experiential retail stores in the fall at Simon Property Group’s Galleria mall in Houston and Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., where customers were invited to view toys out of their boxes before making purchases. Shoppers could also check out brand demonstrations and have access to on-the-ground play places. The company had planned to open more locations in major U.S. cities throughout 2020.

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