Selling toys is not as easy as it once was. That’s a tough lesson that traditional retailers continue to learn after the demise of Toys R Us.
Big retailers like Target, for example, wanted to capitalize on that. Target expanded it’s toy selection and sections, added new offers and better marketing.
And the result? Target said this week it missed its own toy sales expectations. This sent the company stock down along with the stock of Hasbro and Mattel.
There are plenty of reasons for that. For one, there weren’t any massive, hot toys in 2019. “While ‘Frozen II’ gave the toy industry a boost, the lack of other strong hits was often cited for lackluster industry performance,” Gerrick Johnson, analyst at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a research note last week, quoted by CNBC.
“Six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas had a material negative effect,” Johnson wrote. “Toy industry contacts called performance ‘mixed,’ ‘tough,’ and ‘OK, not great.’” He expects the full-year 2019 sales to be about 2% lower. The actual data is not yet finalized.
Even Star Wars couldn’t help. Baby Yoda might have, but the toys will come this Spring. So, it all signals that people want something special.
And there’s also the convenience of online shopping. It’s becoming a norm for toys which is a major challenge for the traditional retailers. They have to rethink and rework their strategies fast if they want to be able to keep with the times.