FAO, IMAGINARIUM, WHO’S NEXT?
It’s sweat and fingernail biting time for toy manufacturers and there’s not much you can do but pray for strong sell through. Short term indicators have brought on wild mood swings from the post Thanksgiving high to the Northeastern retail whiteout of this past weekend. One would expect the coming weekend to be a big one at retail. Of course long-term figures are better at telling the trend and November sales numbers generally looked pretty good.
In a disturbing trend; I’m hearing a lot of complaints about Wal-Mart and Target not restocking their shelves. Apparently the high ticket logistics systems show that the product is there but the employees haven’t been motivated to get it out of the trailers in the back of the parking lot. Maybe if the Big W paid their “associates” a little better they would be nutritionally able to work with an increased level of vigor. Uncharacteristically, this year I haven’t heard these types of restocking stories about Toys ‘R’ Us, but maybe people have just given up complaining. One thing for sure is that even with products locked in trailers, retailers will have their hands in your pockets for markdown money come January.
FAO crumbles, Imaginarium falls by the wayside and Wal-Mart seems to have its eyes on Toys ‘R’ Us next. Despite what that TV giraffe says, it’s no longer the toy superstore. Vendors and SKU’s have been narrowed to the point where inventory is pretty much the same as Wal-Mart’s who has better pricing and the consumer is already going there anyway. Now with brutal discounting beginning even before Halloween, it’s not hard to imagine Geoffrey whistling past the pet cemetery.
Gee, sorry to be so gloomy. The economy is picking up and we can always hope that Wal-Mart squeezes its employees so hard that they unionize and the Big W looses its pricing advantage. Now there’s a cheery thought!