October 5, 2010, 9:13 AM

Toys ‘R’ Us looks online and overseas for Christmas

In time for the holidays, Toys ‘R’ Us will launch online in France and elsewhere.

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With the holidays approaching, multichannel retailer Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. is making new investments in overseas e-commerce sites.

In a newly updated initial public offer filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, Toys ‘R’ Us, No. 37 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, announced plans to expand its e-commerce channel to a number of new countries, including Austria, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. While the retailer isn’t providing many details, a number of those sites will be live in time for the holidays, a Toys ‘R’ Us spokeswoman tells Internet Retailer.

“For the holiday shopping season, we have launched first-time-ever sites at Toysrus.fr in France, Toysrus.de in Germany and Toysrus.at in Austria,” the spokeswoman says. “In addition, we introduced an enhanced version of Toysrus.ca in Canada late this summer.”

With the addition of three new European sites, Toys ‘R’ Us now sells overseas in seven countries. In addition, the U.S. Toys ‘R’ Us already has individual web sites for Canada, Japan and the U.K. “We are planning to introduce web sites in countries where we have physical stores but lack a web presence such as Austria, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland,” the retailer says. “We believe our global e-commerce platform also provides the potential to enter new international markets where we do not have any physical stores.”

Toys ‘R’ Us, which filed for an initial public offering in May five years after it was acquired and taken private by an investor group that included Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Vornado Realty Trust, sees e-commerce as a growth channel for the company.

In the last several years, Toys ‘R’ Us has acquired a number of other toy-related e-commerce sites, including eToys.com, Toys.com, babyuniverse.com and FAO.com. By growing overseas and by adding new web site functionality such as buy online and pick-up in store, which the retailer says it will launch sometime next year, Toys ‘R’ Us is well positioned to expand its online business base, the company says in its most recent filing.

“Our recent acquisitions combined with our Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com sites, will drive growth of our online business. We plan to further expand our online business by continuing to integrate our Internet capabilities with our traditional stores,” says Toys ‘R’ Us.

The IPO registration notes that Toys ‘R’ Us generated global e-commerce sales of $602 million in 2009, but didn’t provide figures for any previous year. The company hasn’t set a date for going public.

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