Amazon-Target Deal Among Those Obscured by Tragedy

The partnership could quell concerns about the online retailer's future viability.
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While Tuesday's terrorist attack has shuttered the major U.S. financial markets, those outside Lower Manhattan are cautiously going about their work.

Perhaps the most significant piece of company news that has been overshadowed by the tragedy was an announcement that hit the newswires Tuesday just as the events unfolded, saying Internet retailer

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

is partnering with discount giant

Target

(TGT) - Get Report

.

Under the deal, Amazon will sell numerous Target goods on its site beginning this fall, although the major benefits will not be seen until 2002. Analysts describe the deal as a boon to Amazon and an endorsement of its long-term viability. While many this year have speculated that Amazon faces a precarious financial future, the fact that a major national retailer like Target decided to partner with the company could quell such concerns.

"It doesn't seem like it is just pomp and circumstance," says Jeetil Patel, who covers the company for Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown. "It's a tremendous validation, given the brand they are working with." Patel has not changed his earnings estimates for Amazon, saying he expects the bulk of any gains to begin in the summer of 2002 when the two companies launch a co-branded e-commerce site. (Patel has a buy rating on Amazon and his firm has not done any recent underwriting for Amazon.)

The deal follows other similar pacts with

Toysrus.com

,

Circuit City

and

Borders

.

"We're always looking to expand selection for our customers, and this strategic partnership with a leading retailer like Target hits the bulls-eye," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, in a statement.

Meanwhile, workers at financial companies outside Lower Manhattan tried to return to work.

One New York-based analyst said work is being done, although this person's firm has instituted a no-comment policy in respect for the victims.

On the West Coast, another analyst said most have gone back to their research work, although this person admitted, "it is tough to concentrate. It's obviously a pretty big deal, with markets closed and people being stuck in different places. It's pretty difficult."

Other events included:

  • Polo Ralph Lauren (RL) - Get Report canceled its spring fashion show, which was scheduled for Thursday. The company provided no information about rescheduling.
  • Ann Taylor's (ANN) annual investor conference was scheduled for Thursday in a boardroom at the New York Stock Exchange, but with Lower Manhattan closed to the public, it's clear that the event didn't take place. No one at the New York-based apparel company was immediately available for comment.
  • Midway Airlines, which in August announced a major restructuring and said it was seeking bankruptcy protection, said Tuesday's events ended all hope of remaining in business. It said it was shuttering its doors and laying off 1,700 workers.
  • Online auctioneer eBay (EBAY) - Get Report said it banned from its site all items from the World Trade Center and Pentagon disasters. Immediately after the attack, some items, such as debris and a stop sign from near the Trade Center, appeared for auction on the site.
  • Several companies, such as Dress Barn (DBRN) , Oracle (ORCL) - Get Report, Adobe Systems (ADBE) - Get Report and CKE Restaurants (CKR) , were scheduled to report earnings Thursday. Oracle has said it will continue with its earnings release but postponed its investor conference call, while Adobe has postponed its report, according to published reports. Representatives at other companies scheduled to report earnings were not immediately available for comment.