Walmart Pop-Up May Rival Toys ‘R’ Us Express

Discussion
Apr 08, 2011
George Anderson

In 2009, Toys "R" Us opened 90 of its Express
pop-up stores for the Christmas selling season. Having achieved success, the
company decided to open roughly 600 Express locations this past holiday. The
pop-up locations averaged around 4,000 square feet.

A RetailWire poll
before the holiday showed 50 percent of respondents expecting the pop-up locations
to provide Toys "R" Us with a big lift for the
season with the balance expecting the Express stores to give it a medium or
small boost.

Results, according to unnamed sources who spoke to the New York
Post
,
were below expectations. While many locations performed well, the chain probably
took space in some poor locations.

Another factor that may have affected results
were higher than expected prices for space, reportedly bid up from competitors
including Walmart. Another unnamed source told the Post that Walmart
considered setting up toy-themed pop-up locations although it eventually decided
against it.

Looking ahead to this holiday season. Toys "R" Us appears
intent on pursuing its pop-up store strategy again. The question is whether
Walmart, with much of its focus on opening small format stores, will go the
pop-up route as well.

"There’s still the perceived threat that the machinery is now in place
and Walmart might try to hit them this year," a source told the Post.

Discussion Questions: Do you see pop-up locations playing as big a role for toy retailing this holiday season as in past years? What do you think about the launch of a toy-themed pop-up concept for Walmart?

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8 Comments on "Walmart Pop-Up May Rival Toys ‘R’ Us Express"


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Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
10 years 1 month ago

Pop up locations makes sense for some companies and companies like Halloween Express have proven that it can be very profitable. Definitely, location and negotiations of lease are two contributing factors to the success of the pop up but execution and promotion are vital. Not sure what Walmart would gain. A consumer that goes into the Walmart store to shop almost always gets other items not just toys so Pop Ups for Walmart may very well negatively impact consumer purchases. Walmart properly decided to stay with their knitting or core competency!

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
10 years 1 month ago

With the glut of empty space, pop-ups, particularly in the holiday spike, make a lot of sense. Toys “R” Us is going through the learning curve on identifying the best attributes for pop-up locations and will doubtless get smarter over time as to the best selection. WMT, given its recent experiments in driving incremental revenues, will probably test the waters here as well, although they’ve done an excellent job in managing the swing space in the front of their stores. Who knows, this may be a way to get into urban environments. Should be interesting.

Kevin Graff
Guest
10 years 1 month ago

What’s not to love about the idea of opening a retail store for just the best 2 selling months of the year? A few years back we helped a client develop and operate a small chain of seasonal stores that flew into the malls for a golden 6 to 8 week run every Christmas and then disappeared to spend the money they made and sit on a beach.

It took a couple of years to get the concept right, and no doubt, Toys “R” Us will be back better this year than last. It just makes too much business sense to me for them not to do this again and again.

As for Walmart, I’ve come to rarely doubt their ability to do almost anything they put their mind to.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
10 years 1 month ago

The single biggest problem with the retail business model is the fact that retailers build square footage for a sales period that lasts 60 days. Would not every retailer want to shrink and expand their sales floor to meet your sales volume? Yesterday the news reported that despite the better economy, mall vacancy rates continue to rise with turn around on the horizon. This is the perfect storm for pop-up stores.

Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
10 years 1 month ago

No, pop-ups should be solely reserved for fireworks stands just before the Fourth of July. Besides, no one is going to buy Christmas toys for kids this year. Most will be happy to get an orange or tangerine.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
10 years 1 month ago

Thanks, Gene Detroyer, for introducing the term, “perfect storm,” to this discussion. Well said, but I see this storm twisting away in another direction (trust me, I’m from Kansas, and I know a little about twisters). Of all retail channels, which one most directly challenges pop-ups for toys? Ah, that would be online e-commerce of course. E-commerce with its vastly superior inventory, vastly superior price comparison feature, often free shipping, and often tax free. In essence, it’s the difference between maybe finding the hottest toy item in a pop-up (highly unlikely); just buying the best available item for your needs but not getting exactly what you want in a pop-up; or getting exactly what you want delivered free to your door from an online source.

Matthew Keylock
Guest
Matthew Keylock
10 years 29 days ago

I’m not against the pop-up idea. However, the fact this is unfolding at the same time as online shopping is rapidly expanding makes the landscape more complex. It’s not just about winning versus bricks and mortar. It may be that unless the offer is right these stores do little more than provide a good showroom for online sales? There may be a great opportunity for the very urgent purchase where online can’t deliver on time…but by then many other stores are already on sale.

Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
10 years 29 days ago

Toy pop-up stores seem to be a natural at Christmas time. It’s a great reminder for that special little something that you’ve suddenly got the urge to pick up. Equally natural are Holiday decorations for Christmas, New Years and Halloween. They’re everywhere!

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