Solidifying Its Toy Authority Position, Company Expands Its Assortment of Exclusive Product Offerings and Plans Aggressive Marketing Strategy to Highlight Differentiation; Leveraging Significant e-Commerce Growth, Toys"R"Us® Enhances Omnichannel Capabilities to Make Shopping More Convenient for Busy Gift-Givers; Company Continues to Focus on Improvements to Overall Shopping Experience That Have Earned Positive Customer Feedback
Wayne, NJ (September 14, 2011) – Toys"R"Us, Inc. today unveiled some of the company's key initiatives to win this holiday season at a special preview event in New York City with retail industry reporters. At the event, Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc., discussed the state of the company as it approaches the Christmas shopping season and lifted the curtain on some of the excitement Toys"R"Us® has in store for customers in the coming weeks. He was joined by Neil Friedman, President, Toys"R"Us, U.S., who added his unique insight as he enters his first holiday with the company.
"At Toys"R"Us, we believe that differentiation and innovation will set us apart and help us win with consumers this holiday season," Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc., told reporters. "We've worked to enhance our omnichannel offerings, expand our e-commerce fulfillment capabilities and deliver an improved shopping environment for our customers. Our team has spent the year preparing for the months ahead, and we are excited to see our holiday strategy unfold."
During the event, Mr. Storch highlighted the company's five consecutive years of positive comparable store sales in December. He also laid out what the company believes are its most significant competitive advantages heading into the holiday season, including differentiated product offerings, growing e-commerce business, enhanced omnichannel capabilities and improved store experience.
Differentiation is Key – New Marketing Campaign to Highlight Unique Toy "Finds"
At today's preview event, Toys"R"Us showcased some of the exclusive products, specialty merchandise and unique "finds" it will bring to customers this holiday as a result of a year-long search across the globe by the Toys"R"Us merchandising team. The company worked closely with manufacturers and inventors to offer select products, like My Keepon™ and Air Swimmers®, and entire toy lines, such as Moshi Monsters™ and The Trash Pack™, which are exclusive to "R"Us® stores in the U.S. Also new to the company's assortment are specialty brands that are not found at mass market retail locations, such as Uglydolls™.
Toys"R"Us continues to focus on growing its exclusive brands business by expanding lines with new products and categories. With the addition of its sourcing office in Shenzhen, China last year, the company is working to drive innovation and quality, introducing new items to its popular brand lines, including Imaginarium®, Journey Girls® and True Heroes®.
The company is supporting its differentiated product offerings with a fully integrated marketing program that includes print advertisements, as well as in-store and online boutiques. This weekend, Toys"R"Us will introduce its first-ever catalog featuring "Only at Toys"R"Us" merchandise. With 44 pages dedicated to the company's exclusive brands and products, the catalog showcases nearly 350 items that can't be found anywhere else, including NERF® N-Strike™ Sonic Series Blasters from Hasbro®, City Central Train Table from Imaginarium® and more. In addition, consumers will find significant savings throughout the catalog, as well as 15 coupons providing even more value offerings. This fall, the company will bring many of its exclusive products to life through a series of fun television commercials.
Rapidly Growing e-Commerce Business
The company's e-commerce business continues to grow, increasing a significant 30 percent from 2009 to 2010. Last year, Toysrus.com averaged 15 million unique visitors per month, and more than 30 million in December alone. The company's robust online sales have earned it a top spot – number 29 – on Internet Retailer's 2011 Top 500 Guide, which ranks U.S. and Canadian retailers based on total online sales.
To support the company's growing online business, Toys"R"Us opened a state-of-the-art distribution center dedicated to e-commerce orders in July 2011 near Reno, Nevada. This facility enables the company to increase fulfillment capacity and expedite deliveries to online customers in the western U.S. Toys"R"Us continues to invest in e-commerce enhancements to advance the company's online business and customer satisfaction.
Making Toys"R"Us Available However, Whenever, Wherever Through Its Network of Stores, e-Commerce Sites and Evolving Mobile Shopping Capabilities
The company continues to focus on creating a seamless in-store and online shopping experience for customers, allowing them to shop with Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us® whenever, wherever and however they choose. This year, the company has enhanced its omnichannel offerings, including the expansion of its popular "Buy Online, Pick Up In Store" program and the addition of "Family and Friends Pick Up." Next month, the company will begin to leverage inventory from its network of stores through a "Ship from Store" program to help fulfill Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com orders. This service will improve the speed with which customers receive their items and also provide an additional means to fulfill online orders.
Mobile commerce is the company's fastest growing channel. On-the-go customers can shop the company's mobile-enabled e-commerce sites via their smartphones, and take advantage of the dedicated Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us apps for iPhone, iPad or Blackberry. Shoppers can also use coupons on their mobile phones and subscribe to the company's mobile messaging program to learn about promotions.
Continuously Improving the Customer Shopping Experience
Improving the shopping environment in its stores continues to be a focus for Toys"R"Us and customers have noticed. According to the company's consumer research presented today, last holiday season Toys"R"Us rated among the best retailers for knowledgeable and friendly associates, its in-stock position and organized store locations, among other features. The company's workforce plays an integral role in providing an enjoyable in-store experience for customers. Shoppers can count on toy-trained associates to help them find the perfect present for the little ones in their lives.
Customers continue to respond positively to the company's growing footprint of integrated stores, which combine Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us under one roof. These convenient, one-stop shopping destinations fulfill the needs of children of all ages and provide a streamlined shopping environment that is easy to navigate and showcases the company's exclusive brand offerings. Through the execution of its integrated store strategy, Toys"R"Us has updated many of its existing locations by renovating both the stores' interiors and exteriors. In some markets, it has also allowed the company to relocate older stores to new sites in the current center of retail activity in that area. More than 20% of its U.S. locations are now integrated format stores.
Toys"R"Us will once again operate Toys"R"Us Express locations in malls and shopping centers nationwide this holiday season providing an added convenience for on-the-go gift-givers. Busy parents, grandparents and last-minute shoppers will find a carefully selected assortment of toys, games, crafts and perennial favorites at the conveniently located Toys"R"Us Express stores.
The learnings from the Toys"R"Us Express store initiative have led the company to open 12 Toys"R"Us Outlet locations nationwide over the past year, securing multi-year leases for these approximately 5,000-square-foot stores. Toys"R"Us Outlet stores feature a wide selection of value-oriented products unique to these locations, as well as an edited assortment of the items available in full-size Toys"R"Us stores.