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Not All Fun and Games (Monday's News & Notes)

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Retailers competing in the toy market have had a notoriously tough time competing with Walmart. The Bentonville behemoth became the top seller of toys in the late 1990s and never looked back. Many department store have reduced or phased out toy departments. Toys 'R' Us, once the king of kids retail, struggled for a long time and ended up paring back its portfolio. But at least they are still out there fighting. KB Toys, of course, liquidated in early 2009.

But Toys 'R' Us has stumbled upon a way to compete through extensive use of pop-up shops and temporary stores. This season it will operate 600 pop-up shops including 10 under the FAO Schwarz brand.

Nevertheless, the chain may opt to postpone its planned IPO until at least 2011. The reason has more to do with nervousness about the stock market and the appetite for retail stocks than it does with any concerns about Toys 'R' Us' strategy.

But that's not the only news on the toy front. Sears is trying to claw back market share in the toy sector by opening 85 toy shops at some of its stores. It will open the stores next month, in time to take a bite out of the holiday sales pie.

Given this renewed competition, it will be interesting to see how Walmart responds. Last year it did some pretty drastic price cutting. Could we see more of the same?

Here are some other news and notes from the retail real estate world.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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