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Consumer Confidential: Toy prices slashed, Amazon in diapers, AOL chatting up Yahoo

November 8, 2010 | 10:07 am

Here's your meet-and-greet Monday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--Big-box retailers are already duking it out to woo toy-buying parents this holiday season. Wal-Mart has slashed the prices of a number of popular toys in an attempt to keep rival Target at bay.  Target is roaring back with its own price-cutting, as are Toys R Us and Amazon. Both Wal-Mart and Target say that if a shopper presents them with a print ad featuring a lower price, they'll match it. Target is also offering an extra 5% discount on all purchases, including toys, if customers  pay with a Target credit or debit card or the Target Visa card. So who wins? All our kids, of course.

--Speaking of Amazon, the online retail behemoth is spending $500 million for the parent of and other shopping sites. Amazon apparently thinks Quidsi Inc. will bolster its cyber-portfolio of retail destinations and give the company more heft among baby- and hygiene-minded shoppers. Quidsi also operates, which sells everyday essentials, and recently launched, a beauty products site.

--One more online tidbit: Rumors are flying that Yahoo and AOL may be on the verge of some sort of partnership or even merger. The two companies, once trendsetters on the Net but now struggling to keep pace with the likes of Google, have reportedly hired Wall Street advisors to discuss potential tie-ups. One line of thought has the smaller AOL taking over the much larger Yahoo. I don't know. Seems to me both Yahoo and AOL need to become more nimble, not bigger and fatter.

-- David Lazarus