Just nine months ago, Target Corp. and Tru Kids Brands (Tru Kids) revealed a partnership deal under which Target’s toy assortment, digital capabilities, and fulfillment services would support the relaunched Toys “R” Us shopping experiences in the U.S. both online and in-store. That relationship has come to an end.
Last October, both parties touted the relaunch of toysrus.com as a digital destination for toy-related content with purchasing powered by Target. Consumers interested in a product from Toys “R” Us would be taken to Target’s website to make a purchase. Upon opening during the holiday season, the new Toys “R” Us concept stores in New Jersey and Texas featured digital displays on which shoppers could browse the Target toy selection and place orders at the physical Toys “R” Us locations for products that would ultimately be delivered by Target, either direct-to-consumer or via same-day pickup.
Heading into Toy Fair New York back in February, Tru Kids still sounded keen on the Target arrangement. A month later, Target Corp. Chairman and CEO Brian C. Cornell declared that the absence of Toys “R” Us had been good for the Bullseye.
“Since Toys ‘R’ Us’ market exit, we picked up more than $1.7 billion in toys and baby,” Cornell said on a call with investors and analysts. “And there’s not a day that goes by where you don’t see a headline predicting another share donation to Target from a struggling competitor.”
As of this month, all Target branding, information, and product links have been removed from the Toys “R” Us website.
All purchases made through the current incarnation of toysrus.com are being made through the Amazon Associates Program.
Somewhat ironically, it was 20 years ago that Toys “R” Us made a deal with Amazon to power its e-commerce business. On Aug. 10, 2000, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and then-Toys “R” Us CEO John Eyler announced a 10-year pact between the two retailers.
Now, just two years after Toys “R” Us liquidated its massive U.S. operations — and a large part of its global footprint — the company is using its site to earn commission through an affiliate program that’s open to nearly everyone.
Neither Target nor Tru Kids Brands responded to requests for comment.