- BJ’s Wholesale Club on Tuesday said it will have twice as many toys for sale on its website and boost its in-store toy selection "by as much as 20% this holiday season.”
- The retailer unveiled its top 10 toys, available exclusively at BJ’s for the season, including Hairdorables and MorfBoard, among others, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive. Popular items will be available as of Oct. 5, the company said.
- BJ’s joins several retailers, including Target and Walmart, moving to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the downfall of major toy seller Toys R Us.
Toys R Us faced heavy competition from mass merchants and Amazon for years leading up to its disastrous 2017 holiday season and subsequent liquidation. Its failure opened a $1.3 billion hole in the domestic toy market, into which retailers of all types have been rushing to fill.
Walmart, Target and Amazon, which all helped set the stage for Toys R Us's collapse in bankruptcy, are expanding their offerings. Walmart said last month that it would boost its toy assortment by 30% in stores and 40% online. Target soon followed with announced plans to double its new and exclusive toys for the season. Meanwhile, Amazon, which is reportedly planning a toy catalog this year, could boost its toy sales by as much as 30% in some categories this season, according to One Click Retail.
But it's not just mass merchants that are going after the category. Party City, Kohl's, J.C. Penney, Five Below, Costco and a host of others are going after the Toys R Us' lost share, as are specialty retailers, including the revived FAO Schwarz and independent stores. Independent toy retailer members of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association said this past spring that 2018 will be "the best year yet for neighborhood toy stores nationwide" and dismissed efforts by mass merchants to capitalize on the Toys R Us decline.
The growing list now includes BJ's, too, which went public in June. The company used some of its total net initial public offering proceeds of $691 million to cut down the $623 million principal amount of its debt, plus $10.2 million of accrued and unpaid interest and prepayment premium under a second lien term loan. The move helped boost its credit ratings with both Moody's and S&P, which now stand at B1 from Moody's (up from B3), and B at S&P, (up from B-).
BJ's executives told analysts last month that they've noticed a bump from nearby Sam's Club stores that have closed, a move Walmart made in the new year to boost e-commerce in favor of brick-and-mortar sales for its own membership-based retail unit. Costco has similarly noted a benefit from Sam's Club closures.