After 20 Years, Toys “R” Us Teams Up with Amazon Again

The toy retailer has ended its partnership with Target and is now using Amazon as an e-commerce purveyor.

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Need to Know 

  • After ending its partnership with Target, Toys “R” Us is now linking to Amazon’s website.
  • The two brands were once partnered back in 2000, but the collaboration ended in 2006 after a court battle over breach of contract.
  • Target had been brought on just last year to support Toys “R” Us’ revival by helping to create an omnichannel shopping experience.
  • The new partnership comes shortly after Toys “R” Us’ relaunch following its bankruptcy.

Analysis 

Twenty years since launching their previous partnership, Toys “R” Us is linked to Amazon once again. Now, e-commerce links on the Toys “R” Us website lead to Amazon’s Associates links. 

The toy retailer, which famously went bankrupt in 2017 and has since been working to revive itself, had previously partnered with Target as its e-commerce purveyor. Since the relationship with Target has expired, it appears that Toys “R” Us is now working with Amazon again as an e-commerce partner.

“By using the Amazon Associates’ links, Toys “R” Us—in a digital sense—isn’t functioning as a retailer, but rather as a publisher,” said writer James Zahn. “If the company is able to scale itself again following the pandemic, they will need a distribution and fulfillment infrastructure, a role that Target was said to be performing.”

When Toys “R” Us and Target teamed up late last year, the partnership included “Target’s toy assortment, digital capabilities, and fulfillment services [that] would support the relaunched Toys “R” Us shopping experiences in the U.S. both online and in-store.” 

Target had been actively involved in supporting a “completely reimagined” omnichannel experience for the revived toy brand. Since their relationship has now come to an end, it is unclear if Amazon will be fulfilling that same role. 

Added Zahn, “One of the key features of the new physical stores was that families shopping in-store could access Target’s complete assortment from digital menu screens,” Zahn said. “Now what will they be told—go to Amazon?”

Toys R Us and Amazon have a complicated history. The two companies first signed a ten-year contract, in which Amazon would power Toys R Us’ e-commerce, in 2000. Just four years later, the two ended up in court and in 2006, Toys R Us’ then-parent company won their breach of contract claim against Amazon. 

While Toys “R” Us and Target have confirmed the expiration of their partnership, Amazon has not yet provided a comment. 

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