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The state of the toy industry


BotCollector

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I've received some insider info about the state of Toys R Us and its plans for the near future, and the trend of losses and store closings is continuing and apparently getting a lot worse, all the way through Kids R Us and Babies R Us. East Coast stores especially are getting a serious run of closings.

 

With the recent loss of FAO Schwartz, the KB Chapter 11, and Toys R Us' past and worsening financial troubles, it seems the toy industry is in a pretty serious slump, like I'm talking very seriously impacting toys as a whole.

 

I've done some (extremely boring) reading and some thinking, and it appears that a significant factor is the shift of what kids are wanting. PC's, mp3 players, and other electronics and computing components are now the gifts of choice from parents to children, which I would assume indicates that this is what kids are asking for.

 

I am worried about the fate of Toys R Us, but also the state of affairs with the next generation. I think the lack of preference for toys is an indication of a continuing disinterest in using one's imagination, and it appears that the slippery slope has already begun.

 

If anyone has the time, I'd like to hear your interpretations of what is happening in the world of toys. You can find all kinds of statistics and trends regarding holiday gifts, what kids are getting, stock performances, etc. online. Google search for toy trends, gifts in 2003, kids toy trends, toy store performance, blah blah blha, you know the drill.

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I've received some insider info about the state of Toys R Us and its plans for the near future, and the trend of losses and store closings is continuing and apparently getting a lot worse, all the way through Kids R Us and Babies R Us. East Coast stores especially are getting a serious run of closings.

 

With the recent loss of FAO Schwartz, the KB Chapter 11, and Toys R Us' past and worsening financial troubles, it seems the toy industry is in a pretty serious slump, like I'm talking very seriously impacting toys as a whole.

 

I've done some (extremely boring) reading and some thinking, and it appears that a significant factor is the shift of what kids are wanting. PC's, mp3 players, and other electronics and computing components are now the gifts of choice from parents to children, which I would assume indicates that this is what kids are asking for.

 

I am worried about the fate of Toys R Us, but also the state of affairs with the next generation. I think the lack of preference for toys is an indication of a continuing disinterest in using one's imagination, and it appears that the slippery slope has already begun.

 

If anyone has the time, I'd like to hear your interpretations of what is happening in the world of toys. You can find all kinds of statistics and trends regarding holiday gifts, what kids are getting, stock performances, etc. online. Google search for toy trends, gifts in 2003, kids toy trends, toy store performance, blah blah blha, you know the drill.

Judging purely from the fact that every time I go to Toys 'R' Us or the toy sections at Wal*Mart the shelves tend to have large gaps in them (where people have snagged the toys), particularly in the Power Rangers and Transformers areas, I'd say demand for toys isn't hurting much, if at all.

 

Then there are the reports, just on these boards, about how people are having trouble finding particular toys because they keep selling out..

 

Also, considering the extreme price difference between computers, MP3 players, and various electronic/computerized gadgets, and regular toys, I find it hard to believe that parents are choosing the high-ticket stuff.

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Whenever specialty stores start closing down, I can only think of one place to point the finger: Wal-Mart. Now this is only a theory, but maybe Wal-Mart is driving all these toy stores out of buisiness. I usually go look at Wal-Mart before I go to TRU. It's cheaper and closer. Wal-Mart has a tenedency to suffocate buisnesses that specialize in one thing (toys, for example). So maybe toys aren't doing bad, but the toy store itself is becoming an outdated concept in the face of the gigantic shopping complex that has it all. Just a theory, though.

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Whenever specialty stores start closing down, I can only think of one place to point the finger: Wal-Mart. Now this is only a theory, but maybe Wal-Mart is driving all these toy stores out of buisiness. I usually go look at Wal-Mart before I go to TRU. It's cheaper and closer. Wal-Mart has a tenedency to suffocate buisnesses that specialize in one thing (toys, for example). So maybe toys aren't doing bad, but the toy store itself is becoming an outdated concept in the face of the gigantic shopping complex that has it all. Just a theory, though.

That, and TRU, FAO Schwartz, etc charge too much for the exact same items. Which one are -you- gonna pick?

 

FAO was hella expensive. I don't think I ever bought anything in that store till it closed and everything was on heavy clearance. :tfgrin

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I think that it is hard to project what the trends really are. I don't think that KB and FAO Schwartz are going out of business because of what they sell, but because of how they sold it. How many times have any of us gone into one of those stores and seen how much higher the prices are. I don't know about TRU. I don't feel like their prices are much higher than Target or Walmart, but I do know that those two are easier to get to.

 

I know that video games and electronics are becoming more and more popular, but I think that as a rule those may be big ticket birthday or holiday items. The rest of the year I think kids may pester thier parents for regular toys.

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I think that it is hard to project what the trends really are. I don't think that KB and FAO Schwartz are going out of business because of what they sell, but because of how they sold it. How many times have any of us gone into one of those stores and seen how much higher the prices are. I don't know about TRU. I don't feel like their prices are much higher than Target or Walmart, but I do know that those two are easier to get to.

 

I know that video games and electronics are becoming more and more popular, but I think that as a rule those may be big ticket birthday or holiday items. The rest of the year I think kids may pester thier parents for regular toys.

Yeah, I think your right. I dont think its as bad as bot makes it sound. Not all parents have the money to buy their kids new video games or mp3 players, or want to give their young children access to these things. Maybe toy sales arent what they were 20 years ago, but I dont think we are looking at the extinction of toys. A walk through any TRU or Walmart will show you large gaps everywhere.

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TRU's prices aren't really much higher than Wal*Mart's (at least, not at my local stores), but TRU has got their head firmly inserted in their ass on some things.

 

Wal*Mart clearanced Armada Unicron starting last month, if I recall. Most of the remaining stuff has gone to the clearance aisle this month.

 

Wal*Mart now has Energon Unicron (actually the black one, rather than Armada 'Cron in the wrong box), along with several figures from wave 1 and 2, as well as TF Universe and Alternators.

 

TRU, on the other hand, has scads of Armada Unicron (in Armada Boxes), both at the TF end of the aisle AND on the top shelf at the other end, over the clearance racks. All still marked $49.95. They've still got Armada Minicon sets hanging on the pegs, at the same price as the Energon Minicon sets. Armada basics and deluxes still priced the same as the Energon basics and deluxes. Both Armada Primes (still at full price, I believe), as well as Energon Prime. No Energon Unicrons (probably waiting patiently for all those Armada 'Crons to sell, no doubt).

 

Meanwhile, customers are gonna go elsewhere (Wal*Mart, K-Mart--hell, even Walgreen's! Sure, they're a bit behind on figs, but I just got Nemesis Prime there last night!), because TRU is so far behind on waves and charging more than the other stores.

 

I'm sure this will convince someone in charge there to raise the prices on the current shelf-stock, since, for some odd reason, revenues aren't "what they should be". :tftounge

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According to CNN, the real problems for toy store such as FAO Schwartz, the KB Toys and Toys R US is not a matter of people not buying toys, but more a matter of the Wal-Marts and Kmarts that undercut there prices.

 

Also parents like the fact that they can go to one store that the kids can find what they want and the parents can find what they want.

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According to CNN, the real problems for toy store such as FAO Schwartz, the KB Toys and Toys R US is not a matter of people not buying toys, but more a matter of the Wal-Marts and Kmarts that undercut there prices.

 

Also parents like the fact that they can go to one store that the kids can find what they want and the parents can find what they want.

Not a problem for me.. if I ever have a kid, I know we'd BOTH be going after the toy department! :tfgrin :tflaugh

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