Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Retail Memo - Alternative Formats Follow-Up: Toys 'R' Us Confirms Our Report About its New 'R Market' Grocery Sections in Toy Stores

Above is a photograph of one of the Toys "R" Us "R" Market store-within-a-store grocery and packaged goods sections located in the front of over 260 of the chain's U.S. toy superstores. The retailer has done a pretty good job of basing the item selection in the grocery sections on the Toys "R" Us overall format, striking a balance between essential items geared to mom and dad and items focused on the kids. The "R" Market sections contain about 1.300 SKUs, according to the retailer. [Photo courtesy of Toys "R" Us, Inc.]

On April 3, 2009, Natural~Specialty Foods Memo (NSFM) reported in this story [Retail Memo - Alternate Formats: Toys 'R' Us Testing Store-Within-Store 'R Market' Grocery Departments in Three Chicago-Area Toys 'R' Us Toy Stores] that the Toys "R' Us toy store chain was testing grocery and packaged goods product sections called "R" Market in some of its toy superstores.

On April 28, Toys "R" Us, Inc. confirmed Natural~Specialty Foods Memo's April 3 report, issuing a news release announcing the addition of the new "R" Market limited assortment grocery and consumer packaged goods sections in what are now over 260 of its 565 U. S. Toys "R" Us toy stores. The sections contain a mix of about 1,300 SKUs in the consumable and household packaged goods categories, along with a couple other related categories.

We got it about right in our April 3, 2009 report, which we published over three weeks before the retailer confirmed the "R" Market grocery store-within-a-store sections. Numerous supermarket industry trade publications and general business publications have ran stories since April 28, using the Toys "R" Us news release as their source.

The most significant added information by Toys "R" Us, Inc. is that the "R" Market grocery sections are now in 260-plus Toys "R" Us stores.

Here is what Toys "R" Us Chairman and CEO Jerry Storch said in the April 28 news release about the retailer's establishment of the "R Market" grocery sections, which are located in the front of the toy superstores:

"As part of our business strategy, we are continually focused on improving the shopping experience for customers in our stores. This includes looking for new ways to provide busy parents with the convenience of finding everything they need for their kids under one roof. The introduction of "R" Market offers customers a uniquely edited presentation of differentiated, kid-focused products from well-known manufacturers, as well as newer brands."

Read the full Toys "R" Us April 28, 2009 news release here. The statement offers a few other added tidbits of information about the "R" Market sections, making it well worth reading.

As we asked in our April 3, 2009 story: 'Will all retailers become grocers eventually'? At least in various limited but serious ways like Toys "R" Us is doing?

The way it's going, our intentional hyperbole in posing that thought question just might turn out to be closer to a statement of fact than one of provocation.