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Target to provide digital support for reborn Toys R Us

US general merchandise retailer Target will provide the digital and fulfilment capabilities behind the relaunched Toys R Us.

ToysRUs.com was relaunched this week by new parent company Tru Kids Brands, and the partnership with Target will see it use the US retail titan’s toy assortment, online platform, and delivery services.

The reborn Toys R US website promises customers a content-rich experience, with videos and articles on the latest trends and toy brands, as well as in-depth product reviews, and detailed descriptions. But when customers click on an item to buy, they are redirected to Target.com.

Target.com will also power digital services in the two new Toys R Us retail stores set to launch in Houston, Texas and Paramus, New Jersey this autumn. The stores are described as “experiential”, and have been designed to showcase new products out of the box, and allow families to try out and play with items before purchasing them.

The shops and the new online operation powered by Target are the first steps in the re-emergence of Toys R Us following its administration and collapse in 2018, which resulted in the closure of all stores and problems for its wider supplier base. Tru Kids was created at the start of 2019 out of the ashes of the old Toys R Us regime, promising to bring back the retailer in a more modern and relevant format than before.

Visitors interested in purchasing items not available in the stores will will be able to request sales assistants to conduct transactions that will be fulfilled through Target.com. The free two-day shipping, same-day pickup in store or curbside, same-day delivery with Shipt, and Target Circle loyalty benefits that are offered to customers at the general merchandise retailer will be available to Toys R Us consumers.

Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids, commented: “Our US strategy is to bring back the Toys R Us brand in a modern way through a strong experiential and content-rich omnichannel concept.

“The foundation of that strategy requires the help of a retail industry leader and Target is the ideal retailer to support a new Toys R Us shopping experience, which is designed to provide families with endless ways to discover, play and enjoy toys. Target will help us deliver on that experience with its toy assortment, digital strength and ability to deliver orders to shoppers in a matter of hours.”

The partnership has echoes of Toys R Us’s first venture into eCommerce, when in 2000 it opted to work with Amazon for fulfilment. At the time, analysts felt it was problematic to outsource online retail to a burgeoning third party, and the relationship turned sour, resulting in a legal battle prompted by Amazon working with other toy retailers.

Amazon then developed its own operations in the category, and now has multi-billion-dollar toys business of its own.

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