Consumer Nation

Toys 'R US CEO: 'Big Days' Ahead for Holiday Shopping Season


Toys ‘R Us Chairman and CEO Gerald Storch said he expects the days leading up to Christmas will be “big days” for the retailer.

In an interview with CNBC, Storch said consumers have been waiting to shop and now, with only nine days left until Christmas, “the starting gun has gone off.”

“There’s been kind of a waiting game with retailers,” said Storch. “And it looks like the consumer wins.”

The toy retailer has extended its hours for the coming weekend, and starting next Tuesday it will keep its stores open for 112-straight hoursleading into the Christmas holiday.

Many experts have said that large numbers of shoppers hit the stores Thanksgiving weekend in search of Black Friday bargains, but some retailers have reported weaker traffic ever since. There are expectations that another wave of shoppers have been procrastinating until this final week of the holiday shopping season to return to the stores, or go there in the first place.

Storch said among the best-selling toys this holiday season is Leapfrog's LeapPad Explorer.

(As a separate indication of this toy's popularity, a Yahoo spokeswoman said searches for "LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer" are up 11,531 percent in the first two weeks of the month, and searches for "LeapFrog Explorer" are up 3,308 percent.)

Other hot toys called out by Storch include Air Swimmers Extreme, a radio-controlled flying fish; Lalaloopsy Littles dolls, and Trash Pack, a line of small collectible characters.

Toys R Us CEO's Holiday Strategy

Also popular, he said, is Activision's Skylanders, a videogame that is sold with a line of action figures that have chips stored in them. The figures correspond to characters that can enter the game when placed on a portal and they can be used on multiple gaming platformsincluding Microsoft's Xbox 360, Nintendo's Wii, and Sony's PlayStation.

“It's so cool for us because we sell toys and this lets us sell toys, too,” Storch said.

He expects there will be more videogames that use this kind of model in the future.

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