Toys R Us

The Detroit News - - Busi­ness -

an­a­lysts say Ama­zon could grow its mar­ket share in toys from 15 per­cent to 20 per­cent this year.

Toy sell­ers had been long tak­ing ad­van­tage of Toys R Us woes, but it stepped up its ef­forts when the chain filed Chap­ter 11 in the fall of 2017 and ac­cel­er­ated the pace when the chain an­nounced it was liq­ui­dat­ing its op­er­a­tions in March. As of early this year, Toys R Us had more than 800 U.S. stores. It closed the last 200 stores at the end of June.

But no one can repli­cate Toys R Us’ con­stant sup­ply of hot prod­ucts to its stores un­til Dec. 25. In fact, NPD ex­pects 20 per­cent of Toys R Us sales will “sim­ply evap­o­rate.” It’s not is­su­ing a hol­i­day toy sales fore­cast, but oth­ers ex­pect the fig­ure to be un­changed com­pared to a year ago, when it was up about 2 per­cent.

With re­ports of the re­tailer’s demise, there was an out­pour­ing of nos­tal­gia from shop­pers, and some an­a­lysts credit that em­pa­thy for help­ing to drive an uptick in toy sales for the first half of the year. U.S. toy sales from Jan­uary through June in­creased 7 per­cent to $7.9 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to NPD.

Last year, toy sales in­creased 1 per­cent to $20.7 bil­lion from 2016.

“I am con­vinced that the strong toy in­dus­try growth so far this year has been at least par­tially sup­ported by the em­pa­thy that peo­ple felt to­ward los­ing a store like Toys R Us,” said Juli Len­nett, NPD’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent and in­dus­try ad­viser for toys in a state­ment. “I think it brought about an emo­tional re­sponse that re­sulted in par­ents buy­ing more toys over­all.”

Even FAO Sch­warz is tak­ing ad­van­tage of the nos­tal­gia. The iconic toy store is set to re­open in Novem­ber in Man­hat­tan shut­ter­ing three years ago.

The store will be staffed with the­atri­cal per­form­ers and will fea­ture new play ar­eas like a mini gro­cery store where kids can buy pre­tend food made of wood. In an­other sec­tion, there’ll be a me­chanic who will help kids build ra­dio con­trolled race cars. FAO Sch­warz is also bring­ing back the over­sized piano made fa­mous in the Tom Hanks movie “Big.”

Jes­sica McCune, 30, was a big fan of Toys R Us and she stocked up on a num­ber of toys when the stores were clos­ing. Although she said she plans to shift her toy shop­ping to Wal­mart, Target and Ama­zon, she still misses her old go-to.

“There’s a void,” she lamented. place ded­i­cated to toys and ba­bies.”

“It’s one

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