Saturday, August 13, 2022

Toys R Us at Macy's opens at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda (Photos)

The Toys R Us at Macy's era is upon us at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Does it live up to the hype? Not entirely yet. Perhaps they are still getting organized here, but will otherwise have difficulty competing with the new FYE Alex Baby & Toys, which is delivering something closer to the Toys R Us experience in the Old Navy wing of the mall.

As I mentioned when the plan for the holiday pop-up shops was announced, one of the fundamental problems is that the Toys R Us experience can't be duplicated in a small format. Toys R Us was essentially a big-box store, a cavernous warehouse with aisle after aisle of toys. Even Target and Walmart can't match that with their toy sections. At the same time, the TV and movie-licensed products most popular at Toys R Us don't exactly fit the image of a Macy's department store, where you'd expect high end German teddy bears as a toy display.

The vibe right now is somewhere between Big Lots and Ross. Shelves are less than full in spots, and the displays could be more neatly presented in some cases, as you can see in the photos here. There isn't much that screams, "Toys R Us," besides the Geoffrey stand-ups. The overall aesthetic is going to require a bit more attention and juice before Black Friday to create a holiday atmosphere.

I'm beginning to wonder if the pop-up idea is simply an effort to prop up the value of the Toys R Us trademark by the new owners, to be able to resell or repurpose it down the road. The plan has gotten a lot of media attention for the brand name. But what does that brand name stand for? This is a nice and convenient way to pick up holiday gifts while doing your usual shopping at Macy's, but it is definitely not reproducing the Toys R Us experience for people who have actually been inside a real Toys R Us.

1 comment:

  1. I remember in late 1970s when I would call the Rockville Toys R Us to ask if they had gotten the new Star Wars toy or figure in.I must have driven them crazy! ­čśŐProbably hundreds of kids were calling them daily! I was only like 10.