business news in context, analysis with attitude

Toys R Us announced yesterday that it will go into the upcoming end-of-year holiday shopping season by setting up 350 temporary stores and boutiques around the country, about a quarter of them in shopping malls that have a surfeit of empty space because of closures brought on by the recession.

Company CEO Gerald R. Storch described the move as a “seize the day” strategy, as Toys R Us looks to take advantage of the void left by the shutdown of KB Toys.

The ones not located in shopping malls will be located inside Babies R Us stores that are not adjacent to toy store units.

The stores, called ‘Holiday Express,” will be small – nothing larger than 4,000 square feet – and will carry best-selling toys.
KC's View:
This strikes me as a smart and highly opportunistic move by Toys R Us … reaching out to shoppers at a time when people are going to be a lot more careful about their money and how they buy presents. They’re hoping that they can take advantage of whatever impulses may be left among US consumers and keep up with Walmart, the nation’s biggest toy retailer, which we all know will leave no stone unturned this holiday season in its search for sales and market share.

The bigger question is whether this suggests possible opportunities for food and convenience retailers – to use the glut of commercial real estate as an impetus to create new formats that can serve new customers in new and unorthodox locations.