Target Takes Aim At Toy Retailing Crown

Photo: Stephen Allan

In the clearest sign yet that Target is striving hard to take the place Toys ‘R’ Us once held, the retailer is expanding both store and digital toy departments for holiday 2018. Target’s multi-part toy campaign includes:

• A nearly 250,000-square-foot expansion of store space for toys across more than 500 stores, to be completed by Nov. 2;
100+ store remodels featuring refreshed kid-focused toy departments, with new layouts, signs and oversized displays;
More than 2,500 new and exclusive toys, nearly double the total from 2017;
• Nearly 25,000 hours of in-store events for kids and families, including characters from Paw Patrol, Minecraft, L.O.L. Surprise! and other popular franchises;
• A new digital toy hub on launching in October, featuring a “gift finder” to help shoppers find the right toy for all the kids on their lists; and
• A digitally enabled kids’ gifting catalog, arriving in homes and stores by Oct. 28, that integrates within the Target mobile app. Using the app’s barcode scanner, shoppers can hover over any catalog page to pull up a complete list of products on that page, along with product details and can quickly add items to their shopping cart.


“For many guests, finding the perfect toy to wrap up and give their little loved ones this holiday is going to be their top priority,” said Mark Tritton, EVP and CMO at Target in a statement. “Our team has spent months preparing for this season, selecting the assortment, deepening our inventory to offer more of the hottest items and reimagining the experience we have for toys in our stores and online.”

Of course, Target does not have the playpen all to itself. Several retailers have made moves to fill the void left by the demise of Toys ‘R’ Us:

Walmart is expanding its toy inventories by 30% in-store and 40% online;
Michaels expanded its kid-oriented offerings with the launch of earlier this month;
BJ’s Wholesale Club doubled the number of toys offered online and increased in-store inventories by 20%;
Party City is piloting 50 Toy City pop-up shops;
FAO Schwarz plans to reopen its New York City flagship store in time for the holidays; and
• Toys ‘R’ Us itself may get another life as a store-within-a-store concept called Geoffrey’s Toy Box.

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