In Absence of Toys R Us, Amazon to Publish Toy Catalog

Amazon is making the most of the declining retail business.

We all know Amazon is squarely in the toy business, but it wasn’t until the sad downfall of Toys R Us that many of us really thought about that cornerstone market and how much it’s changed.

As a child of the 1980s, the print catalog was always a staple in my home – and nothing was more highly anticipated than the annual holiday preview toy catalogs, where my brothers and I would dogear pages so we wouldn’t forget to put moon boots or HeMan’s castle on our Christmas lists.

Never did get those moon boots.

Well, it appears Amazon is taking the changing toy market and bringing back some of the familiar trappings: the e-commerce giant has announced that it will be publishing a good, old-fashioned print catalog this year – and mailing them to millions of households.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon is making the most of the declining retail business by picking up some of the strategies of big boxers like Toys R Us that still worked – namely, the holiday catalog. And even though Toys R Us business was foundering by the end – at a measly $6.5 billion in sales in its final year – its 100+-page “Big Book” was always a popular stopping point for kids on their way to Santa’s lap.

But back to that $6.5 billion. Because the retailer left such a gaping hole in the marketplace, Amazon is not the only one scrambling to grab a bigger chunk of the toy business. And Geoffrey’s body isn’t even cold yet.

Bloomberg says Target has added lines and expanded its toy shelf space in anticipation of the holidays, and will couple this approach with in-store promotional events with big toy manufacturers.

Even the party supply store Party City is putting up their dukes in this fight, announcing some 50 pop-up toy shops for the holidays this year.

And beware – now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, your likelihood of making it out without one of these toys catalogs in your kids’ hands is as low as the added sugar in a vegan scone.

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