Party City is looking to soak up some of the business floating around in Toys R Us’ absence this Christmas by opening 50 pop-up toy stores across the US.
Described by Chief Merchandising Officer Jamie Uitdenhowen as a “pilot programme”, it’s the first major step into toy retail for the partywear leader and will offer shoppers “an enhanced assortment of top toy brands and characters they’re looking for in another convenient format and engaging setting”.
Seasonal retailing is a hallmark of Party City, which every year opens Halloween City stores to serve the States’ $9 billion Halloween industry. For Party City CEO James Harrison, this new venture is a “logical extension” of the model.
The stores, which are open now, stock top brands including Hatchimals, Harry Potter lines and Rainbowcorns, alongside a host of best-sellers from the likes of LEGO, Hasbro, Mattel and its pre-school banner Fisher-Price, and Spin Master.
But the Toy City pop-ups won’t be pureplay; Party City is best-known as the go-to destination for Halloween costumes, holiday décor and partyware of all types in the US, and it will bring a certain amount of that to the Toy City locations.
“In addition to the top toys of the season, we will be offering Holiday décor items and a great selection of holiday sweaters and pyjamas for the whole family,” Jamie adds. “We look forward to continuing to serve our customers through this new pilot programme and helping make everyone’s holiday a bit brighter.”
As with any ‘proper’ toy store, Toy City has also released a list of Christmas top toy predictions – a whopping 50 of them. We won’t list them all here, but they are split into four largely self-explanatory categories: Pre-school Pals; Collectible Craze; Squish, Squeeze and Smush; and Full STEAM Ahead – think toy labs and basic programming kits from the likes of Little Tikes, Thames & Kosmos and Learning Resources.