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eToys reopens for business as KB unit

The toy e-tailer's site, which closed earlier this year, comes back online as a subsidiary of the longtime toy seller.

    First Buffy, now eToys.

    After being left for dead earlier this year, the toy e-tailer's site has been resurrected. But instead of coming back as a high-flying Internet start-up, it returns as a subsidiary of longtime toy retailer KB Toys.

    "We're happy to announce the grand reopening of the new eToys store," KB said in a note on the eToys site, which is laid out similarly to KB's KBtoys.com.

    KB representatives did not return calls seeking comment.

    eToys closed its site in March after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

    KB Holdings, the parent company of KB Toys, bought eToys' inventory, Web address and the rights to eToys' name earlier this year as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. In July, the defunct e-tailer sent a message to former customers, urging them to shop at KB's site.

    Initially, KB added eToys' logo to its site. Now, despite being operated by KB, the two brands appear to have been separated.

    Once the dominant toy e-tailer, eToys' sales fell far short of expectations last holiday season, the most important shopping time for toy sellers. After not being able to find a buyer, the company laid off 70 percent of its staff in January.

    The retail toy industry has been a notoriously difficult business online. Last year, ToyTime, Walt Disney-backed Toysmart.com and Viacom's Red Rocket all closed shop. Meanwhile, KB's site laid off 30 percent of its staff and fired Chief Executive Srikant Srinivasan.

    Last fall, after struggling on their own, Amazon.com and Toys "R" Us combined their efforts to form a toy site.