With no more Toys R Us, big and small retailers are finding unique ways to win the toy market

Posted at 5:33 PM, Nov 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-25 01:19:50-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- Holiday shopping season has officially kicked off with Black Friday and Small-Business Saturday. But with Toys R Us no longer in the picture, retailers are finding unique ways to cash in on the billion-dollar industry. 

Kids will always be drawn to play and make-believe. But for parents, it’s about helping Santa get the deals.

“He loves to jump. He loves to run," Chedna Patin said. "So I think this will be a great play station for my baby,” she said while pointing at a piano toy.

Patin said this year, she and her husband are buying their son’s holiday toys at a big box store.

“Sam’s Club is majorly for groceries, buying bulk. But now as they are increasing their toy collection, I think for parents, it’s a good thing," Patin said. 

In fact, her one-year-old son Viann’s entire nursery came out of a Toys R Us catalog. But since the toy giant filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, she had to look elsewhere.

Since 1948, Toys R Us has dominated the toy market-- last year claiming almost 5% of the $27.4 billion industry.  Now that they are gone, retailers like Sam's Club saw an opportunity.

“We have added about 70 new toys this holiday season," Sam's Club member experience manager, Victor Aguilar said. “We have way more toys than before, that way [parents are] not running around everywhere trying to get their toys. So they can do a one-stop-shop here, buy their food, clothes, toys. They get everything.”

Like their “try then buy” food model, Sam's Club is offering toy demonstrations for the first time, ever.

"We want kids to interact with them, and ask Santa for that gift," Aguilar said. "Or so parents can make sure if the product meets their children's needs."

Demonstrations are a strategy to beat out online stores, which now amount to 13% of the holiday retail market.

Small, independent toy stores, on the other hand, have another strategy. Chika Sasaki owns Gunnzo, a Japanese toy store in Old Town. Instead of offering the same toys as everyone else, she seeks specialty items.

“We always try to have some niche stuff that Toys R Us doesn’t have or a bigger toy store, so it didn’t really affect us," Sasaki said. 

Whatever the strategy, one thing is for sure. 'Tis is the season for giving, which means parents are finding that special something that makes their child(ren) smile throughout the holidays.