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Target-ing baby: Discount rival Walmart competes for mom's money

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It's not child's play, the competition among discount retailers for a share of the lucrative baby products market, and Minneapolis-based Target is squarely in the crosshairs of rivals gunning for it.

Forbes magazine reports that Walmart announced Thursday that it will widen its selection of products for babies and their mothers. The world's biggest retailer will add hundreds of products from 20 brands, sell an exclusive line of safety products and enhance its baby-related e-commerce offerings.

The strategic move is considered a direct effort to eat into Target's customer base. CNBC called Target's strength with baby products "a pillar in its turnaround."

When Target CEO Brian Cornell was selected to run the company, he told Forbes that baby products is "a category he wants his company to dominate."

Target has rolled out special sections at 1,000 stores with products specifically aimed at millennial mothers and pregnant women. On its website, "A Bullseye View," Target makes a play for parents with a feature on actress and mother Jessica Alba; earlier this summer, Target began carrying her Honest Company line of products.

Target remains popular with so-called 'Mommy bloggers.' A recent post on the ScissortailSilk blog started with a message for Target that read, "...thank you on behalf of moms everywhere. You just get us.

The mother who creates the SewLikeMyMom blog wrote, "I especially love Target because of these shopping carts. They’re 15 times easier to push than any other cart at any other competitor!" and illustrated her point with a photo.

The Star Tribune reported that it's no wonder that both retail giants are making a big play for parental dollars. Not only do young families spend a lot of money, but their loyalty is at stake; the newspaper explained that "...if they can get them hooked now, retailers hope they will remain customers for life."

Amazon.com is also making a play for young parents; its baby registry is now accessible on its mobile app.

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