TRU's Global Game Plan for Growth

Editor's Note When Toys "R" Us founder Charles Lazarus opened his first store almost 60 years ago in Washington, D.C., it was named Children's Bargain Town and it specialized in baby furniture. A few months la

April 6, 2018

Editor's Note

When Toys "R" Us founder Charles Lazarus opened his first store almost 60 years ago in Washington, D.C., it was named Children's Bargain Town and it specialized in baby furniture. A few months later, Lazarus added a few toys and the rest is not only TRU history, but also business and retail history.

So when you analyze the key component of chairman and CEO Jerry Storch's game plan for growth—opening stores that combine the Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us formats and integrate the juvenile products category with toys—then it truly adds new meaning to going back to the roots of the company. (See this month's cover story "Toy Authority".)

With four such combination stores open this fall (Elizabeth, N.J.; Redland, Calif.; Goodyear, Ariz.; and Wesley Chapel, Fla.), this format will help drive new growth again for the venerable retailer that hasn't opened new stores in the United States in several years.

In addition, international expansion continues to be an important part of Storch's game plan.

In early December, TRU opened in its 36th country with its first store in South Korea. The 37,000-square-foot site, which will be the largest toy store in the country, is part of a licensing agreement with Lotte Group, one of the premier retailers in South Korea. TRU opened its first international locations in Canada and Singapore in 1984 seven years before Wal-Mart, perhaps the most successful global retailer, opened its first store in Mexico. Since that time, the company's global operations have grown to include 712 international toy stores.

Last month, TRU opened an exclusive licensed in-store boutique for Ben 10, based on the Cartoon Network's property. It reflects the retailer's commitment to licensing as a strategy to differentiate from mass and discount retailers and offer product exclusives.

These three factors—toys/juvenile format, international expansion, and exclusive licensing and merchandising—exemplify the core of Storch's turnaround strategy. The other key factors that TRU must address as part of its turnaround are its $6 billion debt load; lessening the dependence on holiday sales and building more consistency year-round; and further enhancing the brand image among consumers. Millions of consumers and baby boomers in particular grew up with TRU and have a special fondness for the concept—they remember the jingles, Geoffrey the Giraffe, and the original concept.

TRU founder Lazarus, who's been away from the company for 14 years, told me in an interview in 2004 that TRU was all about "fun."

And now, Storch says he's in the game to win and to make TRU the global toy authority. Storch and his "dream team of retailing executives" are making themselves part of the TRU legacy, turning around the company and having some fun doing it.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.

Join 62,000+ members. Yes, it’s completely free.

You May Also Like

Loading..

Report

Loading..

This site uses cookies to provide you with the best user experience possible. By using License Global, you accept our use of cookies.