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Friday, October 05 2018 08:42

The Toy Wars Continue as Go! Retail Group's TOYS EXPRESS Enters the Battlefield...

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It's been a massive week for the toy industry as the annual Fall Toy Preview has come to a close in Dallas. While the big news has been with Toys "R" Us lenders restructuring assets under Geoffrey, LLC and prepping to launch their Geoffrey's Toy Box initiative, a new opponent has entered the battlefield as retailers position themselves to grab market share left up for grabs following the closure of Toys "R" Us in the U.S. as we head into the holiday season. Go! Retail Group has announced a nationwide expansion of their toy business, and as part of that they're opening a new concept: TOYS EXPRESS. The new stores will open in 13 locations previously occupied by Toys "R" Us Express stores. 

Go! will operate over 750 stores in all 50 states this holiday season, including 80 year-round stores in malls and outlet centers. Their Go! Toys and Games stores will expand to more than 400 locations for this holiday shopping season.

Go! Calendars, Toys & GamesIn a statement issued this week, Go! Retail Group CEO Marc Winkelman said: "With the change in the retail landscape this year, Go! Retail Group is excited to expand our toy and game business to meet the needs of consumers nationwide. 2018 is our 26th year of operating pop-up stores. In partnership with our vendors and shopping center developers, Go! is uniquely positioned to expand our successful toy and game business to new locations."

I've been critical of Go! Calendars, Toys & Games in the past, most recently sharing my thoughts via The Toy Book this summer, calling them "disappointing," and noting that "as a parent, what I see in those stores is the experience of a dirty, cluttered mess of dated and overpriced product. While Go! is said to be successful, I feel that their pricing is predatory based on the 'convenience' factor of snagging parents and grandparents who might already be at the mall."

It's one thing to move a lot of product. It's another thing to do it right - and that means more than just the bottom line. I'll be watching this closely and wishing them the best this holiday season.

For those keeping score at home, the lack of Toys "R" Us has opened up new opportunities, with more places than ever to buy toys. Here's a few...

  • Target has expanded and remodeled their toy departments.
  • Walmart has increased selection.
  • JCPenney has expanded their toy departments.
  • Kohl's has more than doubled their offerings.
  • Party City has launched TOY CITY
  • Geoffrey's Toy Box will bring Toys "R" Us brands into select retailers beginning in November.
James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade as Publisher of The Rock Father Magazine, he joined Adventure Publishing Group as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider—a destination for all things pop culture. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 25 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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