Target Challenges Walmart, Amazon for Toy Sales

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Target Challenges Walmart, Amazon for Toy Sales

By Cyndi Loza - 09/10/2018

Target is aggressively stepping up its toy game this holiday season — the first without competitor Toys ‘R’ Us.

“This holiday season, we’re pulling out all the stops to make Target the ultimate destination for toys,” Mark Tritton, Target executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in a Sept. 4 “A Bullseye View” post. “We’re going bigger, offering guests more than 2,500 new and exclusive toys — nearly double compared to last year — and are enhancing our website and stores to bring even more fun to the Target shopping experience this season.”

Target is reimagining its toy experience this holiday season and will host new events and experiences at its stores, according to the blog post. The post also promised "super-engaging digital content" via and directed users to a page within the retailer's site for a curated list of “Bullseye's Top Toys.” Toys on the list included an exclusive furReal Rock-a-too bird and Baby Alive Sweet Spoonfuls doll from Hasbro. 

The mass merchant has been gradually increasing its investment in the toy category this year as it works to fill the gap now defunct Toys 'R' Us left behind. Most recently, the retailer rolled out more than 130 new games and an exclusive line of Nickelodeon's Nella the Princess Knight toys. The mass merchant reported nearly 20% sales growth in baby apparel, according to The Washington Post, and double-digit comparable sales growth in toys in its second quarter, which ended Aug. 4

Considering Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us stores are now shuttered, Target will continue to focus on unique opportunities in key toy and baby categories, said Target chief executive officer Brian Cornell during a second quarter earnings call in August. "We are investing in categories like toy and baby where we know we have this big opportunity ahead of us," Cornell told CNBC. "We are going to make sure we are taking more than our fair share of that market share."

According to a Credit Suisse report from analyst Seth Sigman, 90% of Toys ‘R’ Us stores and 96% of Babies ‘R’ Us stores had a Target within five miles.

In a land grab for Toys 'R' Us market share, Walmart also said it will expand its assortment of toys by 40% online and 30% in stores, with some locations currently staging toy clearance sales to make space in expanded toy aisles for the influx of new merchandise, including "hundreds" of exclusive SKUs. The retailer additionally is already promoting its annual holiday layaway program, which launched on Aug. 31, one day earlier than last year.

In a recent survey conducted by Field Agent, 755 former Toys 'R' Us shoppers were asked which one toy retailer would probably receive most of the spending they would have done with Toys 'R' Us this year. Walmart got the majority of forecasted spending at 40%, Amazon followed with 34% and Target received 21%.