Minneapolis-based Target Corporation pushed the envelope by peddling hip designer products to the masses. Launching a new website, however, seems so passé that you have to wonder who profits from the deal.

The site incorporates Marshall Field’s and Mervyn’s, and in addition to keying in to target.com, it can be also accessed at fields.com or mervyns.com. Target.direct, Target’s electronic retailing and direct marking division, manages those brands’ online order fulfillments.

Amazon.com is also involved in the launch. Its e-commerce technology platform is powering the site to include personalization, product recommendations, 1-Click® shopping, and checkout and search platforms. The burgeoning bookseller will also implement order fulfillment and guest services for the site.

Perhaps more significantly, the site feeds into amazon.com, too. The brand’s myriad products, from books to CDs to Barbie dolls, can be accessed from the new electronic store, and vice versa: look for the tab marked “Target” on the dot.com’s own website.

Later this summer, target.direct will open a Marshall Field's store at amazon.com, which will expand the oeuvre of the existing online Target store. Additionally, target.direct is putting out new Marshall Field’s Direct catalogs and shipping them off to e-consumers. But other than broader exposure for Marshall Field’s, which, like many department stores, has lost considerable market share, does Target get an equal benefit in return for walking into Amazon’s widening and hydra-like grasp?