aNb Media News, November 18, 2010

Store Check: Sears and JCPenney

Last weekend, we visited the new Sears Toy Shops, which are located inside the department store. While the shops look promising, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done to execute the concept at the store level. When we arrived in Sears, there was signage everywhere promoting the new shops. It’s tough not to notice it. Arrive in the area, and there’s an endcap, featuring a display of MobiGo, V.Reader, and Leapster Explorer. The discouraging part about this is the large Thomas & Friends table that blocks access to the product. We certainly love it when Thomas tables are situated in stores but it shouldn’t block parents from buying products.

The toy department consists of wood shelves, which offers a neighborhood toy store feel and makes for a nice presentation. In addition, there were two large plush displays. There was one featuring Russ Berrie stuffed animals, while the other was a school bus full of Gund.

The negative is the aisles are different dimensions. Some aisles have lots of space while others are too tight. The aisles should be consistent and also keep in mind that moms are coming through with strollers.

There was a good selection of product, and as we found in other retailers, Leapster Explorer and the V.Reader were nearly sold out. There was a Fancy Nancy endcap that was nearly empty. The game area featured more than 50 games, mostly recognizable names, including hot sellers such as LEGO Games. The boys’ action aisle featured the big sellers: Star Wars, Transformers, WWE, Bakugan, and Toy Story 3. There was a very clean Barbie aisle.

From what we saw, more than 90 percent of the toys were $19.99 or under. Of concern, there were six shelves in the toy shop that were empty. Also, brands were often mixed up. Spin Master’s Pop on Pals were featured in the middle of the Fisher-Price section. There was a nice Dinosaur Train selection. However the toys were separated by Mickey Plush. But keep in mind, that most of these toys were misplaced by consumers, as the toy labels on the shelves were all correct. Overall, the Sears Toy Shop showed promise, but there are kinks that need to be worked out.

While at Sears, we decided to stop by the nearby JCPenney’s. We asked the staff where the toy shop is located. They told us they didn’t sell toys and we were better off going across the way to Walmart. However, we chose to walk the store anyway, and believe it or not, we found some toys. The toys were placed mainly near the registers and there was a large quantity of private label R/C, especially helicopters. We did find an area that appeared to be a toy area. It mainly featured private label items, but had a large supply of Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots and a feature display of Rubik’s Slide. The overall feel was that Penney’s was lost in any planning for a toy section.

TRU to Open at 10pm on Thanksgiving

Toys “R” Us announced that, for the first time ever, its stores nationwide will open their doors at 10pm on Thanksgiving night to welcome shoppers for a 24-hour savings extravaganza.

Here’s what shoppers can expect to find:

  • 10pm Doorbusters—More than 150 deals on toys, games, electronics, and more between 10pm on Thanksgiving night and 1pm on Friday, November 26
  • Bonus 5am Doorbusters—50 extra doorbusters beginning Friday at 5am until 1pm
  • Tens of Thousands of limited-edition Santa-ma-jigs!, Squinkies Holiday 50-packs, and Justin Bieber Figures
  • Hundreds of Thousands of Free Crayola 64-Packs and Coloring Books with any purchase, while supplies last
  • Online Preview of more than 60 unadvertised “Mystery Deals” on and at 12:01am on Tuesday, November 23, which will be available in-store only between 10pm on Thanksgiving and 1pm on Friday

The 28-page Toys “R” Us Thanksgiving weekend circular will appear in newspapers across the country and online at on Thursday, November 25, offering more than $11,000 in combined, weekend-long savings.

Become a Sing-a-ma-jig! with TRU on Facebook

Toys “R” Us is inviting fans to try its Become a Sing-a-ma-jig! doll app. Available on the official Toys “R” Us Facebook fan page,, and expected to be released as an App for the iPod touch and iPhone in the next week, Become a Sing-a-ma-jig! doll lets users transform themselves into one of the four original Sing-a-ma-jigs! from Mattel.

Download the Become a Sing-a-ma-jig! doll app on Facebook or an iPod touch. Upload a photo, featuring the face of the person to be turned into a Sing-a-ma-jig.

Select which Sing-a-ma-jig! best suits the user:

  • Red, which sings “Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone”
  • Yellow, which belts out “Home on the Range”
  • Pink, which sings “Skip to My Lou”
  • The newest Santa-ma-jig, which sings the seasonal favorite, “Jingle Bells”

Become a Sing-a-ma-jig! doll will then place the user’s photo onto the face of the selected Sing-a-ma-jig, which will sing the appropriate song. Users can then share the Sing-a-ma-jig! version of themselves on Facebook.

Minnie Muse at Forever 21

Forever 21 and Disney Consumer Products announced a collaboration on a new fashion line of apparel and accessories for young women called Minnie Muse for Forever 21. Inspired by modernized sketches of Minnie Mouse, the new collection will be available at all Forever 21 stores nationwide and online at starting this week. The Minnie Muse collection will be comprised of 41 pieces and will also include stationery, accessories, and gift items.