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A New Toy Store ... Imagine That

Amazon.com, which already has online store deals with Toys 'R' Us for general toys and baby-oriented merchandise, is launching a new co-branded shop called Imaginarium.com, a specialty and learning toy store accessible from the Amazon site.

Imaginarium.com LLC is an affiliate of Toys "R" Us and will be the Internet companion to the learning toy retailer's 42 Imaginarium bricks and mortar stores.

Amazon said the new store fills a void in the specialty toy category online and follows on the heels of its deal for on-site Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com stores that are jointly operated under the alliance formed last year between Amazon.com and Toysrus.com. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

Imaginarium.com features a Learning Values System that originated in Imaginarium stores. The system allows parents and gift givers to search for toys according to seven specific skills that will be engaged as a child plays, in categories such as Mathematical, Musical, Linguistic, Visual and Motor Skills, Cooperative Play or Independent Play.

Merchandise brands include Learning Curve, BRIO, Neurosmith, LeapFrog, Baby Einstein and Madame Alexander, among others.

The co-branded Imaginarium.com store will operate under the terms of the 10-year agreement with Amazon announced in August 2000 by Toysrus.com. Imaginarium.com assumes the merchandising, planning, buying and inventory management for the store; Amazon.com manages all aspects of the online shopping experience, including Web site development, order fulfillment and customer service, and will house Imaginarium.com inventory in its U.S. distribution centers.

"With Amazon.com, we built Imaginarium.com to help shoppers find the perfect toy or a special birthday gift," said John Barbour, CEO of Toysrus.com. "The store will also be a convenient step for parents who already shop our Babiesrus.com store just as their children reach toddler age."