Target to assume control of e-commerce biz from Amazon

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In a sign of the growing importance of e-commerce to major retailers, Target has become the latest merchant to end a relationship with Amazon that saw the latter providing e-commerce technology, customer service, inventory, site content and fulfillment of online orders for several major retailers during the past decade.

Target, which has had a partnership with Amazon since 2001, said it plans to build and manage its own platform for Target.com, which it expects to launch prior to the holiday season in 2011. It follows in the footsteps of Borders, which last spring launched its first standalone e-commerce Web site in years after ending a relationship with Amazon that also began in 2001. And in the fall of 2007, Virgin Megastores also launched its own e-commerce business in the US following a five-year relationship with Amazon. That business was shut down on May 31 as Virgin Megastores is exiting the US marketplace.

For Target, the move to hosting its own e-commerce site will enable the retailer “to deliver a customized multichannel experience for Target's guests,” said Steve Eastman, president at Target.com.

Amazon and Target will continue to work together during the next two years to optimize performance of the existing platform and fulfillment services.

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