If Toys R Us Returns, Should It Change Its Model?

The toy store giant seems to be plotting a comeback, and a Texas consumer expert argues the brand is worth saving.

By Laura RiceOctober 15, 2018 11:03 am

It’s not yet Halloween and the countdown to the holiday shopping season has already begun. Retailers, of course, have been thinking about it for months, and the playing field is different this year for one big reason: there’s no more Toys R Us – at least not right now.

A tweet last week from Toys R Us hinted Geoffrey the Giraffe, and the toy store he represents, will be back – but when and in what form? And is it too late?

James Roberts is an expert in consumer behavior and a professor of marketing at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University. He says Toys R Us is a brand worth saving.

“That’s a recognizable brand; there’s a lot of goodwill in that brand and I can see it as a viable option in the future,” Roberts says.

Roberts also does not think Toys R Us needs to revamp its model.

“I’m worried that trying to reignite the specialty toy store like an FAO Schwartz may be, I hate to say it, kind of a thing of the past,” Roberts says. “Toys R Us, they did go out of business, not because of a lack of demand; it really was because of so much debt that they took on and kind of mismanagement.”

Meanwhile, Roberts says Amazon, big-box stores and dollar retailers are all trying to fill the gap for this holiday season.

“One of the more, kind of, creative things I think is interesting is that Amazon is actually going to pass out hard-copy catalogs of their toys that can be available online or at their Whole Foods stores,” Roberts says. “Target is allotting about 500 square feet more for toy space in each of their stores, and particularly the stores that are close to former Toys R Us [stores].”

Written by Laura Rice.