This year, the company foresees licensed products from Disney’s Frozen, and Nick’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Paw Patrol as the ones to watch. The properties will benefit from prominent shop-in-shop placement in TRU stores nationwide, featuring exclusive merchandise. Other product exclusives set to roll out include items from Lego FUSION, the collectibles line Charmazing, Little Live Pets’ Bird Cage Love Birds and Barbie Malibu House.
TRU is also bringing in new loyalty programs, layaway options and easier in-store navigation for its busiest season. A just-launched Rewards ‘R’ Us program offering members one point per dollar spent at Toys ‘R’ Us or Babies ‘R’ Us will complement new layaway options for the holiday period, with payments that can be made in-store or online. TRU is waiving the US$5 layaway fee.
To improve shopper navigation, new signage at US stores will include a store map, while merchandise will be highlighted in the “Here’s What’s Hot” shop for new products and trending toys; a “Gift Express” shop for items US$30 or less; and 16 “Top Gift” suggestion stands sprinkled throughout the aisles.
The moves are part of TRU’s much-publicized “Transformation” strategy to improve flagging sales and debt worries, the same effort that triggered several recent high-profile exec appointments.
Rival Walmart, meanwhile, recently unveiled its 2014 holiday season’s Top 20 Toy List. Four toys from Toronto, Canada’s Spin Master made the grade, including the electronic Zoomer Dino, the craft-based Sew Cool Sewing Machine and the Air Hogs Zero Gravity Laser Racer.
Other notable entries in the top 20 include Leapfrog’s LeapTV, a Hot Wheels remote-control flying car from Mattel and (in light of the recent iWatch announcement) a Kidizoom Smartwatch from Vtech. Walmart’s entire list can be seen here.