Playcon is an annual toy industry convention, in which the industry’s biggest players gather to discuss the future of the business. This year, Playcon live streamed the Toy Association’s free industry open forum on retail disruption and a changing marketplace. On hand was founder of Strategic Marks, LLC Ellia Kassoff. Strategic Marks is the company behind the resurgence of KB Toys. Kassoff gave the crowd a little information about how KB Toys will be making their comeback.
If you want to read a synopsis without watching the video above, check out some of the highlights below!
Kassoff says that the goal is to bring back KB Toys so it is just the way that people remember it, while giving it a modern upgrade. He says that it will be an 80/20 split with the majority being they way you remembered it. They want the experience that adults had as kids at KB Toys, to be there just like they remember it.
They will start by hiring the key group of people at Toys R’ Us, which they have already been talking with. They will start with 300-400 pop-up stores during this holiday season. The pop-up store idea is twofold. It is a quick way to get out there, but also a quick way to test each market. At the end of January they will evaluate the success of each location and determine whether to keep them or look for new locations that might fit better. The goal for the next 3-4 years is to have 600-800 permanent stores.
They analyzed the problems that Toys R’ Us faced and KB Toys to see what failed and realized it was investors (Bain Capital). Big malls are going to provide the funding for these new pop-up stores. Kassoff said that in the past malls typically disliked KB Toys due to having product out in front and sometimes outside of their available space, but the malls have realized that they need the foot traffic from toys stores.
KB Toys will also be doing a lot of work with collectors, as well as roadshows with some of the toy vendors. They are looking at innovative ways of getting people into toy stores again. Each store will have a “Toy Nerd”, basically someone that is an expert at collecting toys. Someone that likes mint packaging, and knows what collectors want. Kassoff also said that KB Toys will host “meet and greets” to have autograph sessions with toy designers.
There will also be larger “Experience” stores that will have cafes for people to hang out, party rooms (which you can book), and registries for birthdays. This larger store will also be able to cater to smaller toy manufacturers, in that their product will have shelf space, unlike the smaller pop-up stores.
As always, leave your thoughts in the comment section about these upcoming KB Toys pop-up stores.
Toys R Us Rebrands as Geoffrey’s Toy Box?
News broke a few days ago that Toys R Us was cancelling their pending bankruptcy plans, with plans to reemerge in the marketplace. Just how and when that comeback would take place was still a mystery, until now.
Geoffrey the Giraffe was spotted at the Fall Toy Preview in Dallas sporting a “Back from Vacation” cape, which made a few headlines on Twitter and Linkedin. This led to a little Internet snooping, which turned up the following information…
Geoffrey’s Toy Box will launch consumer locations across the country this coming November as a “shop-within-a-shop” concept, initially partnering with “a prominent Midwest retailer.”
The new venture, for now, is being operated out of the Toys R Us headquarters building in Wayne, New Jersey, where a small number of former Toys R Us executives and employees continue to report to work.
How will Toys R Us succeed in a marketplace that has changed dramatically in a few short months? Amazon and Walmart are starting a huge push to replace the failed toy company. Walmart plans to add dedicated space for pop culture collectibles in the coming weeks, and Amazon has been signing exclusive rights for various toy lines (like Funko’s Primal Age line).
As always, leave your thoughts in the appropriate places…
ABOUT GEOFFREY’S TOY BOX:
Walmart Diving into the Collectibles Market
Walmart plans to dive into the collectibles market in a rather big way soon. It seems Funko will have a prominent place at the store, as well as a few other collectible lines as well. You can read the entire press release below!
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Oct. 3, 2018 – Walmart is levelling up its pop culture merchandise for fans, announcing it will introduce a new, dedicated collectibles section in the entertainment department of more than 3,500 stores starting the week of Oct. 15. This new destination for collectors will feature:
- The exclusive brick and mortar retail home of Loot Crate, the popular subscription box will now be available for Walmart customers to purchase in store, debuting six different themed boxes featuring top movie, TV and game franchises reimagined as limited edition collectibles.
- An assortment of the best brands and selection of exclusive, accessories, toys, collectors boxes and more, with new and exclusive product from Funko, McFarlane Toys, and CultureFly.
Fan-Favorite Merchandise For All The Fandoms
There has never been a better time to be a fan than now and Walmart is excited to bring exclusive items for customers to show love for their fandoms. Whether you’re a casual collector or a dyed in the wool fan, there will be something for everyone.
Walmart will be the exclusive brick and mortar retail home for Loot Crate, the worldwide leader in fan subscription boxes. Customers will have their choice of six different boxes, all around a unique theme such as Best of the 80s, Space Out, Merc with a Mouth, Not of this World, Gaming Treasures, or Gaming Legends at launch for $19.88.
“We’re excited to curate fandom experiences with our partners at Walmart,” said Chris Davis, CEO of Loot Crate. “Loot Crate creatively collaborates with top licenses to deliver collectibles that are unique, and something that super-fans could only find at fan conventions, but now they can fill out their collections at Walmart stores nationwide.”
Funko Funatics will have a new spot to hunt Funko Pop! vinyl figures, as Funko merchandise moves from the toy department to their new home in Walmart’s collectibles section.
“We’re thrilled that Funko products will be joining the brand new collectibles section at Walmart stores across the country,” said Brian Mariotti, Funko Chief Executive Officer. “Collectibles is a brilliant addition to the merchandise display as is evident by the millions of people that shop pop culture favorites. We are eager to showcase Funko’s vast assortment of Pop! products in this new area and continue bringing joy to Walmart customers.”
Coming to stores and Walmart.com in late October, Walmart will have an exclusive chrome Thanos in six different colors, one for each of the Infinity Stones. But if you’re attending New York Comic Con, you might be able to snap up the Mad Titan a little early. Follow our friends at Funko for more details!
Joining Funko in their move from toys to collectibles will be products from celebrated action figure maker McFarlane Toys. In addition to the exclusive NBA 2K19 line of figures, Walmart will have three exclusive figures from EA SPORTS™ Madden NFL 19 Ultimate Team: Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, and Jason Witten. Plus, fans of Stranger Things will be able to find Upside Down Will in mid-October.
Finally, following a successful launch last holiday season, CultureFly returns to Walmart with their exclusive collector’s boxes, featuring unique products fans are sure to love. Customers will have their choice of boxes featuring a variety of items from Harry Potter, Fallout, Rick & Morty, and PlayStation for $19.88.
“Working with Walmart to bring new CultureFly boxes to their new collectibles section has been exciting,” said Edward Erani, CultureFly, Co-Founder. “I am confident that consumers will fall in love with the assortment and feel like they are walking a mini comic-con at their local Walmart.”
This news follows a recent announcement from Walmart to offer more toys than ever before and deliver the best shopping experience through in-store events and demos, and a new specialty toy experience online.
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 265 million customers and members visit our more than 11,200 stores under 55 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2018 revenue of $500.3 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.
Toys R Us Making a Comeback?
The Wall Street Journal is reporting a bit of news that seems to be right out of left field. It appears that Toys R Us is trying to make a comeback. Toys “R” Us Inc. has canceled its bankruptcy auction and is looking to “revive the business behind the Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us brand names.”
The Toys R Us Inc. new proposal offers a reorganization plan which says, “a new, operating Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us branding company that maintains existing global license agreements and can invest in and create new, domestic, retail operating businesses” under the brand name.”
The controlling lenders of the company determined that any “qualified bids” for their bankruptcy auction most likely would not “yield a superior alternative to the plan.”
What all this means and when a possible re-opening might take place is anyone’s guess right now. It is just good to hear that the company is trying to make a comeback. Hopefully when they do return, they will learn from the mistakes that took them down in the first place.
UPDATE – Official Press Release:
“Geoffrey, LLC, Toys “R” Us, Inc.’s intellectual property holding company subsidiary, announced today that it is moving forward with a plan for substantially all of its assets to be acquired by a group of investors led by Geoffrey, LLC’s existing secured lenders.
The announcement was made following a five month marketing effort by Boston-based Consensus, an investment bank retained to market the assets of Geoffrey, LLC, that resulted in several formal and informal proposals to acquire the intellectual property assets. After considering such proposals, it was determined that the proposal from the existing term lenders was meaningfully higher and better than any other global bid or the sum of the bids received on individual assets. The transition of the business to its new owners is pending approval of the United States Bankruptcy Court and all major creditor constituencies are supportive. Geoffrey, LLC thanks all parties that participated in discussions with the company over the prior months, particularly those that submitted proposals, for their thoughtful and diligent engagement.
Geoffrey, LLC, as reorganized, will control a portfolio of intellectual property that includes trademarks, ecommerce assets and data associated with the Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us businesses in the United States and all over the world, including a portfolio of over 20 well-known toy and baby brands such as Imaginarium, Koala Baby, Fastlane and Journey Girls. The reorganized company will own rights to the Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us brands in all markets globally, with the exception of Canada. It will also become the licensor of the brands to the company’s existing network of franchisees operating in countries across Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and in South Africa.
In addition to continuing to service these markets, the new owners are actively working with potential partners to develop ideas for new Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores in the United States and abroad that could bring back these iconic brands in a new and re-imagined way. Geoffrey LLC will provide additional detail on this front as it becomes available.”
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