It hasn’t been officially announced by any of the involved parties just yet, but those awaiting news on where Geoffrey’s Toy Box merchandise would show up now have an answer. Pallet shippers of Toys “R” Us house brand merchandise are now arriving at Kroger stores as part of the new Geoffrey’s Toy Box collection from Geoffrey, LLC. The Ohio-based Kroger operates stores under several names in around 35 states, and there’s no word yet on if all of their affiliated brands will be included in the Geoffrey’s Toy Box program or not.
In this highly-competitive and unusual holiday season, this is a way for Toys “R” Us to keep Geoffrey and their brands in the public eye during the first season in 70 years without a TRU store in the U.S. In the meantime, other players have been upping their game as the “toy wars” have been heating up.
The Rock Father™ was the first to bring you news on the launch of Geoffrey’s Toy Box back on October 2, and the reaction has been mixed from both consumers and toymakers. While many companies were left unpaid and badly burned by the closure of Toys “R” Us (not to mention all the jobs lost because of it), now Geoffrey, LLC is positioning themselves as a competitor to many of those same companies as they place their toys alongside of them at retail.
I’ve gone on-record as saying that I believe that Michigan-based Meijer stores are a likely outlet for Geoffrey’s Toy Box displays as well, and with this new development I’d say that Kroger won’t be the only place where former TRU brands like Journey Girls, Fast Lane and Imaginarium will pop up.
UPDATE: Spotted in the wild at a Kroger Marketplace location. Photo by David Langford, used with permission…
Kroger has a solid history with toys, maintaining small but robust departments in their stores over the years, and also being a notable seller of Mattel’s Hot Wheels products. At one point, the famed Kenner toys (now part of Hasbro) was even headquartered in the Kroger building in Cincinnati. This is also not the first foray into grocery sales for Toys “R” Us, who previously maintained “Toy Box” branded aisles in select Albertson’s-owned stores back in 2002. Here in the Chicago area, Jewel-Osco had the “Toys ‘R’ Us Toy Box’ aisle. If all of this seems like history is just repeating itself, you’re not wrong. Back in October of 2012, I shared news that Toys “R” Us was launching pop-up stores inside of select Macy’s locations. Heading up that initiative was Richard Barry, the same guy that’s currently EVP of Geoffrey’s Toy Box.
Update: Photos from a Fred Meyer location via Instagram
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Stay tuned for more to be revealed shortly…