July 27, 2005, 12:00 AM

Toysrus.com expands its stored value card program

Toys ‘R’ Us will do more extensive promotion of its program to encourage customers to redeem stored value cards online and is extending the program to include Babysrus.com.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Toysrus.com is expanding the reach of its stored value card program. For several years, Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. has marketed stored value cards in its network of 1,500 stores as a way to drive holiday and gift-related sales to its bricks-and-mortar locations. It expanded the program during the last holiday season to include Toysrus.com.

Now the toy retailer is expanding the program to include another Toys ‘R’ Us online store-Babiesrus.com-and will do more marketing in stores and in print advertising, including circulars. “We’ve been advertising the online redemption of stored value cards all along in our stores,” says John Sullivan, vice president and general manager of Toysrus.com. “Now we are looking at others way we can promote this.”

While the chain isn’t disclosing specifics, the revenue generated by customers purchasing stored value cards in one of its stores and redeeming it online was a big reason first quarter 2005 sales for Toysrus.com jumped 21% to $64 million from $53 million for the first quarter of 2004.

“We noticed a strong surge in use of stored value cards at the web site during the holidays and the momentum carried right through January,” says Sullivan.

Toys ‘R’ Us, which ranks No. 26 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, made the necessary back-end systems and database adjustments to accept stored value card transactions on its web site for several reasons, including encouraging year-round toy shopping. “Accepting stored value cards online helps us drive more gift sales throughout the year,” Sullivan says.

Without providing details, Sullivan says that redeeming stored value cards online will soon be extended to include Babiesrus.com, one of several e-commerce sites owned and operated by Toys “R” Us. Other sites include Imaginarium.com, Sportsrus.com and Personalizedbyrus.com.

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