We are about 2 1/2 weeks away from the biggest shopping day in the United States, Black Friday, and the kick-off to the Holiday shopping season. With Toys'R'Us having closed their last stores in the U.S. in June of this year, we were wondering how the announcements made by retailers about how they were planning to fill the void left by Toys'R'Us, has translated onto the retail floors so far.
Kroger announced to roll out Geoffrey's Toy Box pop-up displays in almost 600 Kroger mainline and subsidiary stores across the United States. This past weekend we've found the first Geoffrey's Toy Box displays, and even though it's an increase of toys in the toy department, the increase is small. Kroger and Fred Meyer stores in particular have aisle displays filled with toys already anyways during the Holiday season, and the only real change to previous Holiday seasons seems to be that customers can now purchase previous Toys'R'Us exclusive brands such as Animal Zone, Imaginarium, Journey Girls, Edu Science, You & Me, and Just Like Home. Interesting here is that the prices for toys in Geoffrey's Toy Box pop-up displays will not exceed $49.99. This all sounds great but from a consumer point of view the actual visible change in the toy department is hardly noticeable (keep in mind that mid-aisle displays is something Kroger/Fred Meyer stores have always done during the Holiday shopping season).
Amazon.com has sent out their first printed 64-page toy catalog specifically for this Holiday season with a range of toys advertised inside. Star Wars is featured on pages 62 and 63, but unfortuntately Star Wars action figures from The Black Series 6" line, The Vintage Collection or even Bandai's Star Wars model kit line are nowhere to be found. The catalog features Star Wars Lego heavily with a handful of Hasbro Star Wars role playing items on the same page.
Target stores announced that they would increase their toy departments in 500 stores (they operate over 1,800 in the U.S. currently) for this Holiday shopping season by November 2nd, but we have yet to see any major changes. They of course added collector brands like NECA and Mego to their offerings a few months ago already, and they also carry Funko pop bobble heads, but those sections are very small and in the case of Mego even mixed-in on end-caps with their regular toy department. They also announced in-store kid activities, but we'll have to wait and see what that will look like as no specifics have been shared yet. So far, as of November 4th, from a consumer point of view visiting Target stores, changes to the toy department have not been noticeable.
Walmart announced to increase their toy departments by 30% in all of their stores for this Holiday season (and by 40% online), but again, about two weeks away from Black Friday 2018, such changes are not noticeable in their stores from a customer point of view. One thing which we did find at Walmart however was an increase in Playmobil toys, in particular Playmobil's Ghostbusters offerings stood out to us.
All in all we can say that we've seen small changes here and there at some of the biggest retail chains, but we have not seen a single retailer increase their toy presence drastically. What do the stores look like in your area? Did their toy departments get bigger?