Basic Fun! is planning for “life in the US without Toys “R” Us,” the company said in a press release. The company, which always considered Toys “R” Us to be its “product showroom,” will now have to chart a path in a world without a major exclusive big box toy retailer.
“We’ve lived through losing K-B Toys years ago, and we’ll find a way to go on in the current retail environment,” said Jay Foreman, CEO of Basic Fun! and long-time toy industry veteran. “We are hoping against hope that someone will come in to rescue the brand and find a way to reinvigorate it. Until that happens, we will look to fill the gaps with our existing customers such as Target, Walmart and Amazon, among others.
“It’s almost like going back in time. When I was a kid, we would look through the big Sears Catalog for weeks picking toys we’d hope to get. Now the internet is our catalog. Consumers will navigate online, as well as at the strong big box, mid-tier and smaller retailers, and we will indeed have a Christmas in 2018 and beyond!”
Three years ago, Amazon was Basic Fun!’s ninth largest account. This year, the company expects it to be its second or third. It’s where the company anticipates picking up much of the slack from Toys “R” Us.
Foreman assumes that retailers in the vicinity of existing Toys “R” Us stores will take on extra capacity, as well as online led by Amazon. Consumers will have a smaller selection on store shelves and a bigger selection online than ever before, from both Amazon and other big box retailers scaling up their own online presence.
In addition, Basic Fun! plans to ramp up its acquisition strategy in order to increase its scale and more vigorously compete in today’s market place. Since 2013, the company has completed several acquisitions including The Good Stuff Company, Uncle Milton Industries, Tech 4 Kids, and most recently, K’NEX. The company believes that scale is key, and their model offers creative opportunities to acquire or merge with assets and companies in the industry. Given the events around Toys “R” Us, Basic Fun! is already seeing many smaller and mid-cap toy companies looking to them for a solution.
“The toy industry as we know it has been around for over 100 years, and it’s not going anywhere!” Foreman added. “We’ve been through wars, financial crises, upheavals in retail, the advent of video games and mobile gaming, and we have always found a way to bounce back and thrive. We are an industry of dynamic entrepreneurs and creative innovators, and no one should bet against us!”