Thanks to a partnership with Toys "R" Us, Macy's will help holiday shoppers buy presents for kids — and kids at heart — all in one place.
The toy retailer is opening shops inside more than 100 Macy's locations, with additional locations to be announced. The initial rollout includes a 14,000-square foot pop-up store inside Macy's flagship Herald Square location in Manhattan, complete with a slide, interactive demos, and, of course, tons of toys available for purchase in-person.
"We want to deliver that experience back to really American families once again, and it's been missing," said Yehuda Shmidman, Toys "R" Us Chairman and CEO.. "People have been asking for it."
According to the National Retail Federation, holiday shopping between November and December is expected to increase between 3.6 percent and 4 percent compared to last year's figures. Christmas is 32 days after Thanksgiving this year, adding one more day of potential gift-buying.
(L-R) Nata Dvir, Chief Merchandising Officer at Macy's, Yehuda Shmidman, Chairman & CEO of WHP Global and Toys"R"Us and Jeff Gennette, Chairman & CEO of Macy’s, Inc. attend Toys"R"Us Grand Opening at Macy's Herald Square on October 13, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy's, Inc.)
"Our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy and overall strength of the industry," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. "Although this year hasn't been perfect, especially with the recent devastating hurricanes, we believe that a longer shopping season and strong consumer confidence will deliver retailers a strong holiday season."
Toys "R" Us opened its flagship location at the American Dream megamall in East Rutherford, N.J. in time for the 2021 holiday season.
"When we saw the vision that they had, combined with what we're doing, it was really an alignment of stars," American Dream developer Paul Ghermezian told Cheddar News at the time. "We need to do this, but we need to do it right. And I think that they've nailed it."
In 2017, Toys "R" Us shuttered all locations after declaring bankruptcy. In a story of bad timing, it tried opening two retail locations in 2019, but they did not survive the pandemic.
Now Toys "R" Us and Macy's believe the demand is there this holiday season. The retailers say top toys include a Barbie Color Reveal doll, Macy's signature 2022 Holiday Barbie Doll, and, well, all things Barbie in general.
"Barbies are for everyone, because she's always doing something new and a lot of customers can really resonate with her," said Nata Dvir, Macy's chief merchandising officer.
Other top toys include perennial favorites like Spider-Man, Dvir said. The Marvel superhero has sustained popularity throughout the generations.
"I think kids just love Spider-Man because he's flying all over the place," she said, "He's got his webs. He's red, and I think that he's just such a fun character that so many kids can relate to."
General view during Toys"R"Us Grand Opening at Macy's Herald Square on October 13, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy's, Inc.)
Lego, in particular, has been able to find new fans, thanks to partnerships with popular modem brands like Minecraft.
"It really challenges you to make sure that you're following the building pattern, but also lets you express that imagination," Dvir said. "Having those is a really great way to express your version of how you want to play."
However, some experts warn toy sales may be hit harder than expected this year. Hasbro reported lower than expected earnings and revenue during its latest earnings report, and lowered its projections for Q4 2022 because of inflation. Research from Freedonia Focus Reports found that toy purchases in 2022 may slip 15 percent from last year after last year's extremely high demand due to stay-at-home activities and stimulus funds.
Still, the executives remain optimistic that in-store toy sales hold something special for customers.
"Times are of course always volatile," Toys "R" Us' Shmidman admitted. "But there's one thing I think that can never be replaced - and that's happiness. When you think back to the joys, experiences that you've had, that I've had, that we've all had at Toys "R" Us as kids, to pass that on to the next generation is something just larger than life."