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eToys echoes urge patrons to shop KBkids

The defunct e-tailer sends e-mail and a coupon to its former customers, urging them to shop at KBkids.com, the online division of KB Toys.

    eToys customers got a message from beyond the e-tail grave.

    The defunct eToys on Monday sent e-mail and a coupon to its former customers, urging them to shop at KBkids.com, the online division of Pittsfield, Mass.-based KB Toys. KB Toys bought eToys' inventory and Web address, as well as the rights to the eToys name, earlier this year.

    "Because we respect your privacy, we haven't transferred any of your personal information to KBkids.com," eToys said in its email. "We encourage you to shop KBkids.com--we know you'll like the service and selection."

    The e-mail was sent by representatives of eToys on behalf of KBkids.com, said Scott Wilder, vice president of product development and marketing at KBkids.com. KB did not acquire eToys' customer database and does not have access to eToys' customer information, he said, noting that eToys customers can choose to make their account information available to KBkids.com.

    eToys has agreed to send a series of e-mails to its former customers promoting KBkids.com, Wilder said. Monday's message was the second such e-mail, he said.

    "These customers would still go to eToys if it were still in business," Wilder said. "We're trying to give them the opportunity to buy the type of products they bought on eToys."

    Once the dominant toy e-tailer, eToys had a horrible holiday season last year, with its revenue amounting to less than two-thirds of what Wall Street analysts had been expecting. In the wake of the revenue shortfall, the Los Angeles company laid off 70 percent of its staff--700 employees--in January and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

    KB bought eToys' inventory, valued around $40 million, in April for $5.4 million. In May, the toy retailer bought eToys' intellectual property.