Wal-Mart Revamps Layaway Program in Anticipation of Toy Demand

logo-walmartWal-Mart Stores Inc. will bring forward its holiday layaway program by two weeks, in what has been viewed as a move to get ahead of year-end demand for toys, and to generate sales of upcoming Star Wars toys. As reported by Reuters, Anne Marie Kehoe, the vice president of toys for Wal-Mart, said in a briefing that shoppers can utilize the program starting August 28, two weeks earlier than last year.

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FAO Schwarz to Close Its Flagship New York City Store

faonewlogoAs reported by Reuters and other news outlets, FAO Schwarz, the oldest toy store in the U.S., is closing its iconic Fifth Ave. flagship store in Manhattan, citing rising rent prices. The store will shut its doors on July 15, exiting early from its lease.

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Hamleys Opens Second-Largest Toy Store in the World in Moscow

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

As reported by Reuters, the British toy store Hamleys opened the second-largest toy store in the world on Tuesday in central Moscow. The new shop covers roughly 6,750 square meters, or about 73,000 square feet, and features a rocket made of nearly two million Lego bricks.

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Report: 40 Percent of Retailers Reduced SKUs Last Year

According to a new Nielsen survey, reported by Reuters, more than 40 percent of retailers reduced the number of different SKUs on their shelves last year, and nearly the same number expect to make additional cuts.

According to Nielsen, these cuts can help retailers lower costs, but shoppers may leave stores without making a purchase if they cannot find a specific item. In the Nielsen survey, it was reported that 7 percent of shoppers who did not find their desired personal-care item said they would leave the store without buying an item in the category, with some shoppers saying they would leave the store without buying anything. Nielsen reports that if just 0.5 percent of grocery shoppers were to leave a store without making a purchase, retailers could lose sales up to $1.5 billion.

Walmart recently reported that its program to overhaul stores hurt sales. Last year the retailer removed slower-selling items from shelves, and replaced them with more popular items. However, the company found that not offering some items drove shoppers to other stores. In March, the company said it returned approximately 300 items to U.S. store shelves.