Toys ‘R’ Us leans on Private Brand

Journey GirlsThe latest edition of Fortune magazine features a intriguing article on Private Brand at toy retailer Toys R Us. As evidence of the changing perception of Private Brand the article avoids many of the classic clichés about National Brand Equivalents and low quality.

Toys ‘R’ Us leans on itself for the next big toy hit

The struggling retailer hopes private-label brands will attract new customers.

Big blockbuster movies are expected to do big business in the toy aisle this year.

But the U.S.’s largest toy retailer – Toys ‘R’ Us – doesn’t plan to fully rely on toys tied to hit film properties to help boost sales. It will also generate a ton of business from its own, internally created toy lines.

Toys ‘R’ Us generated 14% of its sales from its private brands in the first quarter of this year. Those toys generate higher gross margins and thus help boost profits.

Some of the retailer’s successful, internally developed lines include Journey Girls dolls, True Heroes action figures, and educational toys under the Imaginarium brand. The retailer is also planning to debut a new baby doll line later this year, which is in addition to the You & Me brand Toys ‘R’ Us has already developed and sells.

“We are looking at private brands and branded products together to offer a more diverse assortment,” said Toys ‘R’ Us Chief Merchandising Officer Richard Barry.

The strong focus on private-label brands comes as Toys ‘R’ Us looks at any way it can differentiate what it sells at its stores versus what competitors stock. The brick-and-mortar retailer not only battles with Wal-Mart WMT -0.63% and Target TGT -0.53% but also online rivals like AMZN 1.09% for a slice of consumer spending on toys. Toys ‘R’ Us often also seeks exclusive items from toy manufacturers to win over shoppers.

Read the entire article.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.