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It's still strange to think that 2018 will mark the first year without The Great Big Toys "R" Us Book of Awesome here in the U.S. In fact, the name and multiple variations on it are part of the long-awaited TRU IP auction that will hopefully actually take place in October. But what if we did have a 2018 Big Toy Book? Chances are it wouldn't be that much different than our friends to the north, who've just unveiled the Toys "R" Us Top Toy Trends for families in Canada. As they say, "while it might seem early for adults to sing carols and sip eggnog, kids know that Christmas is less than 100 sleeps away!"  So what does Toys "R" Us Canada pick for the Hot Play Trends for the holidays? Let's take a look...

Thursday, September 13 2018 12:08

Kid CEO? Toys 'R' Us China has a New Army...

While Toys "R" Us is currently dead here in the States, Geoffrey lives on in other parts of the world, including China. What's of concern right now is that a growing battle between a couple of the very companies responsible for the swift collapse of TRU here in the States (led by Solus Alternative Asset Management, because "Soulless" was too obvious a name) may put the entire Asian operation at risk due to a fight over the use of the Toys "R" Us name. In the meantime, it's business as usual in the Far East, and the folks at Toys "R" Us China just wrapped their hunt for a "small CEO." Actually, about 150 of them - children dubbed as Honorary "Chief Experience Officers."

In the toy world, one of the biggest happenings of fall is the arrival of Toy City. Launching now alongside Halloween City pop-ups in around 50 cities (I revealed the store list exclusively last week), this is Party City's big foray into filling the seasonal gap left behind following the collapse of Toys "R" Us this year. There've been many questions from both consumers and industry players alike, and as I mentioned in my recent feature at The Toy Book, the launch of Toy City was a hot topic during the Future of Toy Retail panel that I took part in at San Diego Comic-Con. So what will these stores look like? The Toy Insider's Jackie Breyer gives us a tour in this new video showcasing a Toy City location in the former Toys "R" Us in Rockaway, New Jersey. Check it out...

Back in June, Party City  officially announced that they'd be going after some of the business left behind in the wake of the Toys "R" Us collapse by opening 50 Toy City pop-up stores this holiday season. By pairing them with existing Halloween City pop-ups, they'll be able to test the waters for future seasonal expansion by utilizing locations where they already have great deals on short-term leases on the space. While it's been quiet over the summer, customers and those in the toy industry have been eagerly awaiting news on where these locations might be - something I keep getting asked about. Though the official announcement hasn't come down just yet, I can exclusively reveal the locations of 46 Toy City pop-up stores, with the list being published for the first time anywhere right here on The Rock Father™ Magazine. Is there a Toy City opening in your town? Find out below...

Back in 2016, ThreeSixty Group announced the acquisition of the FAO Schwarz brand from the pre-bankruptcy Toys "R" Us, quickly making plans to resurrect it into retail. 2017 presented an unfortunate almost-misstep, with FAO launching pop-ups in Bon-Ton Stores (including Carson Pirie Scott and Younkers, among others) just ahead of that company's collapse. A minor hiccup in the grand scheme, FAO Schwarz put on an impressive show at the 115th North American International Toy Fair in New York City back in February, having announced plans for a new flagship location in NYC, along with a partnership with Hudson Group to bring stores into airports across the country. Now we know where the first location will be, and appropriately - it's in New York's LaGuardia airport in the redesigned Terminal B.

The birth rates might be down, but contrary to what some might have you think - yes, people are still having babies... even Millennials. With the loss of Babies "R" Us during the Toys "R" Us collapse this past year, new parents looking for a spot to check out the latest in baby gear are finding that there may soon be more places to buy than ever before, and the latest is a bit of an unexpected one: JCPenney. The iconic retailer has had their own share of struggles with evolution over the past few years, but they're still working on it, this week announcing the opening of JCPenney Baby Shops in 500 stores.

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