At its annual holiday preview event held at the flagship Times Square store in New York City, Richard Barry, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, Toys ‘R’ Us, outlined a comprehensive plan that boasts extensive exclusive products, enhanced omnichannel services and a retrofit of a minimum of 300 stores that will focus on four key categories.
Barry says, “TRU will continue to re-invent and evolve the toy box for the 2013 season and beyond focusing heavily on differentiation and breadth of assortment, while introducing new product categories and expanding growth areas.”
Licensed merchandise will once again be a big part of the TRU holiday plan, with a major section devoted to the Disney Channel’s children’s properties–Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Sofia the First. Exclusive products include Doc McStuffins Deluxe Get Better Check-up center from Just Play; Sofia the First Royal talking vanity from Jakks Pacific; and Disney Infinity Infinite Crystal Series Lightning McQueen figure from Disney Interactive.
Other exclusive licensed products include Despicable Me 2 Minion Dave, Agnes and Gru collector’s edition figures from Thinkway Toys; a The Wiggles line of toys from Wicked Cool; a Tickety Toc line of toys from Just Play; and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles classic figures collection from Playmates.
On the brick-and-mortar store side of the business, essentially, TRU will create four store-within-a-store areas expanding its position in education, construction, tablets and party while tightening its space for baby formula, diapers and electronics. The retrofits are already underway, says Barry, and will be completed by the end of October.
The education shop, for which U.S. product sales accounted for 22 percent in fiscal 2012, will include microscopes and telescopes from Edu Science, language learning programs from Little Pim, musical instrument sets from Melissa and Doug and a Imaginarium Lift-A-Flap world puzzle and solar system.
The construction area, which will be expand by 50-square-feet, will feature 70 Lego exclusives including Legends of CHIMA Crock Swap Hideout and Star Wars Jedi Defender Class Cruiser.
The tablet area will be a 32-foot shop featuring 25 tablets on display for kids and parents to test. The lineup includes TRU’s Tabeo e2, a second generation faster and bigger 8-inch tablet with 30 pre-loaded apps priced at $149.99. Other tablets include XO from Sakar, Kurio 10s from Techo Source and Meep! X2 from Oregon Scientific.
Barry also says that TRU will expand its price match guarantee to include online retailers including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Buy Buy Baby and Amazon in advance of the holiday season. Barry says TRU is also offering 10 percent back on toy purchases for reward members, extended return period and free layaway.
Fred Agir, senior vice president and chief digital officer, reports several e-commerce enhancements for TRU, which now represents $1.1 billion in sales worldwide. Agir says that online shoppers can now place an order and pick it up in a store within one hour versus the previous three-hour wait time.