In the first half of 2018, sales in the U.S. toy industry rose by 7 percent to $7.9 billion. The increase occurred during the liquidation of Toys R Us, market research group NPD said in a press release.
“It is likely that the Toys R Us news has kept toys top-of-mind for parents and grandparents when shopping for kids in general, benefiting both consumers and the industry,” Juli Lennett, senior vice president and toys industry advisor for NPD, said in the press release. “I am also convinced that the strong toy industry growth so far this year has been at least partially supported by the empathy that people felt towards losing a store like Toys R Us.”
Toys set at between $5 and $19.99 led the market growth, and, when it came to categories, youth electronics increased by 43 percent and dolls rose by 17 percent. In addition, box office action figures and accessories grew sales by 16 percent.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Toys R Us’ liquidation was the largest retail closure since Sports Authority closed nearly 500 stores. Since its leveraged buyout, Toys R Us had been burdened with over $5 billion in debt. Competition from eCommerce retailers, such as Amazon, and discount stores, like Walmart, hasn’t helped the company either.
Beyond the U.S., Chief Executive David Brandon said Toys R Us may liquidate its operations in France, Spain, Poland and Australia. In addition, the company hoped to find a buyer for its Canadian business, which it planned to package with 200 stores in the U.S. “We’re putting a for-sale sign on everything,” Brandon told the WSJ. “Frankly, all anyone has to do is offer one dollar more.”