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Toy retailer prepares for newest business channel — an online marketplace

Toys “R” Us is adding a new customer touch-point that it will use to get merchandise into shoppers hands faster.

Making good on its promise to serve its customers whenever, wherever and however they want to shop, the toy retailer entered into an agreement with Mirakl, a global marketplace solutions provider, to create an online marketplace for the Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us brands in the United States and Canada. The platform, set to launch in 2018, will enable the company to increase its product selection and decrease time to market for new merchandise.

The retailer expects the platform to expand the breadth and depth of its merchandise selection, and give the brand exposure to a larger audience. It will also allow Toys “R" Us to leverage data from third-party products and sellers to identify potential, new retail partners and influence in-store offerings, the company said.

"As the leading toy and baby retailer, customers expect us to have the latest and greatest assortment of products available, said Lance Wills, Toys “R” Us’ global chief technology officer. “The marketplace model provides the opportunity to accomplish just that.”

The move comes on the heels of another new initiative. Building off of its new brand positioning, "Today We Play,” Toys “R” Us is launching "play labs" at 42 stores — an in-store experience where kids (and parents) can play with some of the season's hottest toys.

Both efforts coincide with the retailer’s renewed focus on modernization. Toys "R" filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 18 with a goal of restructuring its outstanding debt. Last week, it closed on $3.1 billion of financing facilities that will support its operations during its restructuring process allow it to invest in various initiatives, including the renovation and modernization of its stores.

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