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Toys ‘R’ Us Bringing E-Commerce Back In-House

Wayne, N.J. – Toys “R” Us is planning to bring its U.S. e-commerce operations back in-house for the first time in 15 years.

The initiative, part of the company’s broader, multiyear “TRU Transformation” strategy, is intended to “optimize our e-commerce business and significantly improve the customer experience online,” said chief digital officer Fred Argir.

The No. 1 toy chain launched in 1998 and two years later outsourced site development, order fulfillment and customer service to That partnership ended in 2006, and the retailer moved its online platform to GSI Commerce – acquired by eBay Enterprise in 2011 – which also provides e-commerce platforms for Sony, sports leagues and other national chains.

Toys “R” Us hopes to complete the latest move by the end of next summer and will continue to work with the eBay unit in the interim to ensure a “seamless transition.”

Under the plan, the toy chain will build and manage a new e-commerce platform for its, and websites to provide “the flexibility needed to grow and expand in an omni-channel world while allowing us to rapidly respond to changing customer dynamics,” Argir said.

“We believe it is in our best interest to manage and control all aspects of our e-commerce platform as we move forward,” he added.

The company ranked 20th on TWICE’s Top 100 CE Retailers report, with $730 million in tech sales last year but was below the $195 million cut-off to qualify for our Top 25 E-tailer rankings.

It recently announced plans to close by next week its famed FAO Schwarz store near New York’s Central Park, and Fortune reported that a rent hike is forcing the chain out of its 110,000-square-foot flagship location in Times Square, to be replaced by Gap and Old Navy stores.