WAYNE, N.J., Sept. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Toys"R"Us, Inc. today raised the curtain on its plans for the 2012 Christmas season at a special preview event in New York City, laying out some of the key strategic initiatives it will employ to win with consumers during the important shopping months ahead. Asking 'Why shop anywhere else for toys? Why?' the company detailed its significant customer advantages heading into the holiday season, which include a brand-new Hot Toy Reservation program, along with the previously announced Free Layaway and new additions to its omnichannel capabilities.
Additionally, the company showcased its breadth of product assortment and highly differentiated merchandise mix, which features aisle upon aisle of items that can't be found anywhere else – from proprietary brands to entire lines of exclusives from branded manufacturers.
"At Toys"R"Us, we believe that product differentiation, our unmatched breadth of selection, unique services, great value offerings and our toy-trained team continue to set us apart as a specialty retailer, and will catch the attention of consumers this holiday season," Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc. told reporters. "We've been preparing all year long and we're ready to deliver a winning holiday season to toy shoppers as they seek to find that special gift for the children on their wish lists."
'Why Shop Anywhere Else for Toys? Why?'
At the event, Mr. Storch highlighted for retail industry reporters how the company will demonstrate to consumers why Toys"R"Us® is, more than ever, the go-to destination for holiday toy-buying this year. The company will offer customers incredible values each day throughout the season – both in-store and online – whether it be through deals and sales, free shipping offers online or the many special promotions planned in the months ahead. Beyond sales and competitive prices, the company has established a number of programs and offerings to help gift-givers save, including the company's 30 million-member-strong complimentary loyalty program, Rewards"R"Us®.
First-Ever Hot Toy Reservation Builds on Specialty Service Offerings
Today, Toys"R"Us announced its first-ever Hot Toy Reservation program, a complimentary service that will enable customers to reserve the hottest toys of the holiday season, putting an end to frantic searching in the days leading up to Christmas. The service will be available for the 50 items on the company's much-anticipated annual Holiday Hot Toy List – the official guide to Christmas toy-buying. Hot Toy Reservation will begin when the list is revealed – coming soon – and will continue through Halloween in all Toys"R"Us stores nationwide.* By utilizing the service, shoppers can rest assured that their "must have" toy will be under the tree on Christmas morning. The free service will be available in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide and all 50 hot toys – whether the items are in-stock at a local store or not – will be eligible for reservation.
To take advantage of Hot Toy Reservation, customers can visit the Customer Service desk in all Toys"R"Us stores nationwide to place their orders with a 20% down payment**, and shoppers can reserve items through October 31. Customers will receive an e-mail notification when their orders are available and have until December 16*** to pick up their orders. More information about Hot Toy Reservation will be available soon in-store and online at Toysrus.com/Toyreservation.
The company's significant customer advantages also include the recently announced Free Layaway through Halloween. Taking its layaway program to a whole new level this holiday season, the company is waiving the upfront service fee for all layaway orders created in its stores through October 31. Offering a free, no minimum purchase layaway program early in the season allows customers to take full advantage of the flexible payment terms provided by layaway and give themselves until December 16 to pick up their orders.
Track Record of Solid Financial Performance
During the preview event, Mr. Storch also highlighted for reporters the company's solid track record of financial performance since 2005, which includes an increase in net sales from $11.3 billion in 2005 to $13.9 billion in 2011, as well as three consecutive years of adjusted EBITDA in excess of $1 billion from 2009 to 2011.1 In addition, last December marked the sixth consecutive year of positive comparable store sales growth for the company in the U.S., speaking to the strength and vitality of the Toys"R"Us brand and the place it holds in the hearts of kids and families, especially during the holiday season.
Extensive Breadth of Assortment and Differentiated Product Offerings
A key pillar of the company's ongoing strategy is its highly differentiated assortment, which includes Toys"R"Us proprietary products, exclusive items and entire lines from branded manufacturers, the ability to bring new products to market first, and simply, more toys than any other retailer. Soaring on these strengths, Toys"R"Us has delivered six consecutive years of positive comparable store sales in the U.S. during the month of December, contributing to continued market share growth in the fourth quarter over the last four years.2 At today's preview event, the company showcased many of the thousands of toys that can't be found anywhere, except Toys"R"Us. Pointing to the company's extensive breadth and depth of assortment, Mr. Storch outlined the main components of its differentiated strategy this holiday season:
- Proprietary Products – From Imaginarium® to Journey Girls® and Fast Lane™ to Air Zone®, Toys"R"Us will offer customers great new toys from its 34 proprietary brands. It continues to focus on growing its exclusive brands business by expanding lines with new products and categories while driving quality and innovation. The company highlighted the recently introduced kid-friendly tabeo™, its first-ever wif-fi tablet loaded with the content kids want, as well as safety features desired by parents. tabeo is currently available for pre-sale at Toysrus.com and will be in stores nationwide on October 21.
- Exclusive Products from Branded Manufacturers – The company spends the year tracking the hottest items across the globe and works closely with manufacturers and inventors to offer special items from hot properties, like Lalaloopsy Sisters™ from MGA Entertainment® and Nickelodeon® Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Secret Sewer Lair Playset from Playmates, which will be offered exclusively at Toys"R"Us this holiday season.
- Similarly, the company worked to identify and create opportunities to carry exclusive lines from branded manufacturers. This season, the Technic line from LEGO® Systems, Inc., which includes 20 vehicles – will be only available at Toys"R"Us stores and online at Toysrus.com. Among others, it will be the exclusive home of Gelarti™ from Moose Toys, a new line of gel stickers with a twist, and Peppa Pig™ from Fisher-Price®, a collection of toys based on the popular TV series.
- More Toys from Branded Manufacturers – With more than 15 million square feet of dedicated toy-selling space in the United States alone, Toys"R"Us simply has more toys than any other retailer, offering an unmatchable breadth of assortment. While Toys"R"Us carries popular key items from LEGO, Playskool, Barbie and Fisher-Price sold by mass merchants, it also offers aisle upon aisle of additional products and line extensions from branded manufacturers.
- First to Market – Branded manufacturers – big and small – continue to choose Toys"R"Us as THE place for product launches, providing the company with early insights on consumer preferences. Over the last year, for example, the company has first introduced customers to hot items and lines such as Kurio®, True Hope® dolls and The Original Big Wheel™.
- 2013 Toys Available for Holiday 2012 – To the delight of children everywhere, Toys"R"Us will offer new toys for 2013 during the 2012 holiday season. The infusion of newness to its product offerings late in the season is sure to be welcome by parents and kids alike.
The company is supporting its differentiated product offerings with a fully integrated marketing program, inclusive of a Big Brand Sale catalog which features 47 dedicated pages showcasing the company's exclusive brands and products. In addition, consumers will find significant savings throughout the catalog, as well as 46 coupons providing even more value offerings. This is the beginning of an aggressive marketing cadence that will continue throughout the holiday season.
Strong e-commerce Growth Driven by Omnichannel Capabilities
The company's $1 billion e-commerce business continues to grow, increasing a significant 29% from 2010 to 2011 and either matching or outpacing the industry growth during key junctures in 2011, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and November and December. Last year, Toysrus.com averaged more than 33 million unique visitors per month, compared to an average of 15 million in 2010. In addition, nearly 55 million unique visitors in November and December propelled the company's e-commerce business to claim an 18.6% toy share in the U.S. in 2011.3
The company's omnichannel strategy has contributed significantly to drive additional visits to its stores and provide the opportunity for add-on sales while customers shop in physical locations.
New this holiday season, the company will roll out "Ship to Store," which will allow customers to ship select online purchases to their local Toys"R"Us or Babies"R"Us store free of charge. Additionally, enhancements to existing programs, such as "Buy Online, Pick Up In Store," will be available, including merchandise pick up kiosks and dedicated omnichannel teams to streamline the in-store pick-up process.
*Hot Toy Reservation is not available at Express or Outlet stores
**Certain electronics items will require different payment terms
***Required pick up date will vary for select electronics items
About Toys"R"Us, Inc.
Toys"R"Us, Inc. is the world's leading dedicated toy and juvenile products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. Merchandise is sold in 875 Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, and in more than 635 international stores and over 145 licensed stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions. In addition, it exclusively operates the legendary FAO Schwarz brand and sells extraordinary toys in the brand's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com, Babiesrus.com, eToys.com and FAO.com, it provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. Headquartered in Wayne, NJ, Toys"R"Us, Inc. employs approximately 70,000 associates annually worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. Additional information about Toys"R"Us, Inc. can be found on Toysrusinc.com. Follow Toys"R"Us, Babies"R"Us and FAO Schwarz on Facebook at Facebook.com/Toysrus, Facebook.com/Babiesrus and Facebook.com/FAO and on Twitter at Twitter.com/Toysrus and Twitter.com/Babiesrus.
1 Toys"R"Us Japan was not consolidated in 2005. Toys"R"Us Japan had sales of approximately $1.6 billion in 2005.
2 The NPD Group / Consumer Tracking Service
3 The NPD Group
SOURCE Toys"R"Us, Inc.