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Toys R Us Christmas 2011: More Exclusives (Not CARS)

Toys“R”Us, Inc. unveiled their holiday “key initiatives” at a special preview event in New York City with retail industry reporters (our invite was apparently lost in the internet tubes). Basically, they are going to pile on with exclusives this Christmas (not many new CARS stuff BTW) and in addition to Buy Online, Pick up in Stores, they are adding a deal where Friends & Family Can Pick up which sounds like something the Grandparents can order but instead of having to show matching ID, the kids can now pick them up across the country … not to be cynical but hopefully, they worked out the whole “Yes, my grandma ordered me 15 Nintendo’s and 20 iPod Touches …”  🙄

On with the press release.

“At Toys“R”Us, we believe that differentiation and innovation will set us apart and help us win with consumers this holiday season,” Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys“R”Us, Inc., told reporters. “We’ve worked to enhance our omnichannel offerings, expand our e-commerce fulfillment capabilities and deliver an improved shopping environment for our customers. Our team has spent the year preparing for the months ahead, and we are excited to see our holiday strategy unfold.”

During the event, Mr. Storch highlighted the company’s five consecutive years of positive comparable store sales in December. He also laid out what the company believes are its most significant competitive advantages heading into the holiday season, including differentiated product offerings, growing e-commerce business, enhanced omnichannel capabilities and improved store experience.

Differentiation is Key – New Marketing Campaign to Highlight Unique Toy “Finds”

At today’s preview event, Toys“R”Us showcased some of the exclusive products, specialty merchandise and unique “finds” it will bring to customers this holiday as a result of a year-long search across the globe by the Toys“R”Us merchandising team. The company worked closely with manufacturers and inventors to offer select products, like My Keepon and Air Swimmers, and entire toy lines, such as Moshi Monsters and The Trash Pack, which are exclusive to “R”Us stores in the U.S. Also new to the company’s assortment are specialty brands that are not found at mass market retail locations, such as Uglydolls.

Air Swimmers are kind of interesting – basically RC controlled Helium Balloons but outside of high tech offices where grown up kids can do battle, I’m not exactly sure how many of these they can move (at $49 plus helium tank) this Christmas. How are the Moshi Monsters & Trash Packs doing with your kids?

For CARS, there will be more 5-packs and the Color Changers as exclusives – as well as some random Action Agent Mini’s playsets.

Toys“R”Us continues to focus on growing its exclusive brands business by expanding lines with new products and categories.

This weekend, Toys“R”Us will introduce its first-ever catalog featuring “Only at Toys“R”Us” merchandise. With 44 pages dedicated to the company’s exclusive brands and products, the catalog showcases nearly 350 items that can’t be found anywhere else, including NERF N-Strike Sonic Series Blasters from Hasbro, City Central Train Table from Imaginarium and more. In addition, consumers will find significant savings throughout the catalog, as well as 15 coupons providing even more value offerings. This fall, the company will bring many of its exclusive products to life through a series of fun television commercials.

Making Toys“R”Us Available However, Whenever, Wherever Through Its Network of Stores, e-Commerce Sites and Evolving Mobile Shopping Capabilities

The company continues to focus on creating a seamless in-store and online shopping experience for customers, allowing them to shop with Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us whenever, wherever and however they choose. This year, the company has enhanced its omnichannel offerings, including the expansion of its popular “Buy Online, Pick Up In Store” program and the addition of “Family and Friends Pick Up.” Next month, the company will begin to leverage inventory from its network of stores through a “Ship from Store” program to help fulfill Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com orders. This service will improve the speed with which customers receive their items and also provide an additional means to fulfill online orders.

Mobile commerce is the company’s fastest growing channel. On-the-go customers can shop the company’s mobile-enabled e-commerce sites via their smartphones, and take advantage of the dedicated Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us apps for iPhone, iPad or Blackberry. Shoppers can also use coupons on their mobile phones and subscribe to the company’s mobile messaging program to learn about promotions.

Continuously Improving the Customer Shopping Experience

Improving the shopping environment in its stores continues to be a focus for Toys“R”Us and customers have noticed. According to the company’s consumer research presented today, last holiday season Toys“R”Us rated among the best retailers for knowledgeable and friendly associates, its in-stock position and organized store locations, among other features. The company’s workforce plays an integral role in providing an enjoyable in-store experience for customers. Shoppers can count on toy-trained associates to help them find the perfect present for the little ones in their lives.

Customers continue to respond positively to the company’s growing footprint of integrated stores, which combine Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us under one roof. These convenient, one-stop shopping destinations fulfill the needs of children of all ages and provide a streamlined shopping environment that is easy to navigate and showcases the company’s exclusive brand offerings. Through the execution of its integrated store strategy, Toys“R”Us has updated many of its existing locations by renovating both the stores’ interiors and exteriors. In some markets, it has also allowed the company to relocate older stores to new sites in the current center of retail activity in that area. More than 20% of its U.S. locations are now integrated format stores.

Toys“R”Us will once again operate Toys“R”Us Express locations in malls and shopping centers nationwide this holiday season providing an added convenience for on-the-go gift-givers. Busy parents, grandparents and last-minute shoppers will find a carefully selected assortment of toys, games, crafts and perennial favorites at the conveniently located Toys“R”Us Express stores.

The learnings from the Toys“R”Us Express store initiative have led the company to open 12 Toys“R”Us Outlet locations nationwide over the past year, securing multi-year leases for these approximately 5,000-square-foot stores. Toys“R”Us Outlet stores feature a wide selection of value-oriented products unique to these locations, as well as an edited assortment of the items available in full-size Toys“R”Us stores.

You can read the full press release here.

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21 September 2011 Advertising, Retail, Toys 4 Comments


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