Walmart and Target seize on the first Black Friday without Toys 'R' Us

Target, Walmart, Amazon, and a spate of big retailers are pouncing on the first holiday shopping season in decades without Toys & 'R' Us.

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 7:28 AM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 7:32 AM

Target, Walmart, Amazon, and a spate of big retailers are pouncing on the first holiday shopping season in decades without Toys 'R' Us.

Toys 'R' Us closed its doors after 70 years in business earlier this year, leaving behind hundreds of stores and $10.5 billion in annual sales.

In Toys 'R' Us' absence, retailers eye an opportunity to capture market share and pump up toy sales. Their efforts will reach a fever pitch on Black Friday and into the holiday stretch.

"While toys [are] important all year long, it rises to a whole new level in the holidays," Mark Tritton, Target's chief merchandising officer, said on Tuesday.

Target (TGT) has added close to a quarter-million square feet of space dedicated to toys across 500 stores, remodeled toy aisles at 100 stores, and added new displays throughout the stores to raise awareness.

The company's toy sales increased 20% last quarter from the same time a year ago. Target anticipates more growth during the holiday stretch, when it typically makes half of its annual toy sales.

Walmart (WMT) has grown its new toy selection in all stores by 30% and 40% online. It recently rolled out a virtual "toy lab" playground that allows kids to play with 20 of the company's top toys.

"There's a lot of toy volume up for grabs this year, so we've bought broader and deeper in this category," Walmart's chief merchandising officer said last month.

Party City (PRTY) is opening 50 "Toy City" pop-up stores. Kohl's (KSS) has partnered with Lego and FAO Schwarz to sell products at stores. For its part, FAO Schwarz is coming back with a new 20,000-square-foot flagship in New York.

"Both of those brands are already off to a great start," Kohl's said on Wednesday.

Unlikelier names, including Dollar General (DG) and Foot Locker (FL), are making moves, too. Foot Locker is teaming up with Funko to sell LeBron James and other basketball stars' figurines. Bloomberg first reported the partnership on Monday.

So is Best Buy (BBY). Best Buy has expanded toy inventory at its 1,000 US stores. The company is betting that shoppers coming in to buy a new TV during the holidays might want to leave with Barbies or Legos, too.

Kroger (KR) is adding Geoffrey's Toy Box sections to sections to 600 stores this holiday. Sections will be stocked with 35 toys.

"We've got an arms race in the toy category," Moody's retail analyst Charlie O'Shea said last month.

Amazon is also trying to fill the void. It mailed out a toy catalog and is offering free shipping on toys with no minimum purchase, including to customers without Prime.

"We see Amazon as the biggest share taker post-Toys 'R' Us," Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink said in a research note earlier this month.

New York

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CountyCasesDeaths
Queens1550597836
Kings1519718037
Suffolk1259252577
Nassau1127022540
Bronx1038695255
Westchester837081789
New York744523434
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Washington143823
Seneca120345
Franklin11039
Delaware99019
Essex95916
Schoharie8825
Yates79516
Schuyler71010
Hamilton1451
Unassigned39101
Out of NY0164

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2988326

Reported Deaths: 33589
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles101466213848
San Bernardino2512131560
Riverside2394122517
San Diego2117872103
Orange2108132367
Santa Clara926251065
Kern84644565
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Santa Cruz12026113
Marin11482153
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Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8532
Plumas5735
Modoc3793
Mariposa3444
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 133205

Reported Deaths: 1800
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28337458
Washington18644171
Marion16172238
Clackamas11642138
Lane8272108
Jackson689285
Umatilla676568
Deschutes495236
Yamhill318245
Malheur313152
Linn310846
Polk244640
Klamath242838
Josephine173533
Jefferson170225
Benton169514
Douglas167743
Union111416
Wasco107123
Columbia104318
Lincoln99117
Hood River95121
Coos93715
Morrow93310
Clatsop6865
Crook61010
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Curry3245
Lake2305
Grant2131
Harney1754
Wallowa963
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00