Why Toys R Us Closing Matters to World of Nintendo

While you might not think of it right away, the recent troubles that Toys R Us is having and the fact that they appear to be on the verge of going out of business is bad news for World of Nintendo and figure collectors.  It isn’t the end of the world but it could reshape how we buy figures.  Before I go into more detail, I want to say that everything in this article is my opinion and analysis.  I’m not a business person or have any inside knowledge, I’m just thinking about this as a collector who is watching a large chain of stores close and trying to make sense of what it means for all of us.

World of Nintendo at Toys R U
Image courtesy of: SplatendoUniverse on: https://www.reddit.com/r/WorldOfNintendo/comments/6dl3mm/world_of_nintendo_section_as_of_now/

Whether you like or shop at Toys R Us, one thing that is hard to deny is that they have the largest selection of toys of any store.  This is especially true with Amiibo and World of Nintendo where they have had some pretty crazy amounts of figures for sale in 2017.  And it isn’t just that.  Toys R Us stocked new World of Nintendo stuff as well as anybody.  I had one Toys R Us location near me that was always a little slow to get new stuff and you could often find older releases there (which is an advantage in its own right) but the most popular Toys R Us location in the town in Ohio where I live always had stuff first and always had the best selection of any store I visited.

World of Nintendo at Toys R Us
Image courtesy of: http://nintendofunclubpodcast.com/

When I think about losing both of those stores in my area, I’m a little dismayed.  When I think about it across the entire United States, that is a huge loss for World of Nintendo and Jakks Pacific.  It is true that Target, Wal-Mart, and Meijer all sell World of Nintendo and will continue to do so.  Game Stop has dabbled in it as well though I’ve not seen much at Game Stops near me and wonder how well it does there.  The issue is that Target sells World of Nintendo inconsistently and Wal-Mart and Meijer don’t give World of Nintendo the kind of shelf space or marketing that Toys R Us has.  That will surely hurt Jakks Pacific’s bottom line and cause less World of Nintendo figures to be sold on the whole.

Lower sales could mean fewer figure releases, inconsistent stocking of figures, and possibly even the end of World of Nintendo if things get dire enough.  Personally, I think World of Nintendo can survive the closing of Toys R Us if they can stay in all of the other retailers they’re already in and keep a steady presence in Target as well.  The line has a lot of fans now and has been around long enough that it has brand recognition.  One area of the business where World of Nintendo could improve is online sales on places like Amazon which is often rife with price gouging and built-in shipping prices.  That has always made buying World of Nintendo online less appealing to me and if Jakks Pacific can find a way to up their online sales, that could also help World of Nintendo do well going forward.

Toys R Us Store Front

While I am a grown adult who has a full-time job and I always have felt weird buying stuff for myself at Toys R Us and yet, I already know I will really miss it.  I bought some of my first video games at Toys R Us for the Game Boy and Nintendo 64.  I bought figures there from Star Wars to Amiibo to World of Nintendo and I think that kids in the future deserve to have their own dedicated toy store where they can buy whatever they want.  Not having a go-to retailer where you know you can find all kinds of cool toys from video games to Legos, to Star Wars and Marvel figures will change the way we shop.  Seeing a figure in person before you buy will be that much harder and it makes toy hunting (one of the fun parts about this hobby) even harder.  So even if you don’t go to Toys R Us often or ever, I suspect that the closing of Toys R Us is something that will affect a lot of figure collectors negatively over the next few years.

These are my thoughts on Toys R Us and its imminent closing.  What are your thoughts on Toys R Us, World of Nintendo, or any other kind of figures you have bought there?  Let us know in the comments below.

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22 comments

  1. It might be worse than you think. I don’t think I have ever even seen space for WoN at any of the half dozen WalMarts around me and the local Target seems to have removed them in the recent reset. The meijer carried them last I checked but if the TRU closes they may be the only one around here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It certainly could be worse than I predicted in my article and while I didn’t talk about it, I can definitely see your prediction coming true with World of Nintendo being extremely hard to find at retail(which would in turn making scalping online worse I would think). I rarely shop at Wal-Mart so I’m not sure how well they stock World of Nintendo here in Ohio. I have always seen them in Wal-Mart but have only gone once or twice and that isn’t a reliable sample size.
      I have run into similar situations here with Target completely dropping World of Nintendo and Jakks Pacific needs Target to adopt their figures all the time to keep sales steady. I hope that things are actually better than they appear, otherwise we may see the end of World of Nintendo which would be sad. Thank you for sharing your opinions and experiences Ramen Junkie!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m really sad to see Toys R Us going out of business. It’s surprising to me given how busy they can get in my area, as well as other great points you mentioned here like the versatility in what they carry. Here in Canada, we recently lost Sears and lost Target not too long ago, so really, the big retailers like Wal-Mart are slowly monopolizing this part of the market. I don’t like shopping at Wal-Mart for very much, so I can feel the widespread frustration out this way as well.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I thought of you when I was writing this article because I was wondering how things are up north and I could have sworn I heard Toys R Us in Canada was doing well and might stay open. I hope that is the case but wouldn’t be surprised if I heard wrong. Sears are mostly gone in the US and the one near me was horrible and should just close and be put out of its misery but to imagine only Wal-Mart in my town is brutal! I hate Wal-Mart with a passion and refuse to shop there so I have a lot of sympathy for your situation. Someone in Canada can hopefully challenge Wal-Mart’s dominance because they are a “distasteful” company in my opinion.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I really hope that another competitor makes it out onto the scene soon. I also really dislike Wal-Mart for many reasons, but mostly because of the poor quality of most of the things they carry. I grew up in a family that reused and handed things down, and Wal-Mart to me is the exact opposite of that. The throw-it-out-and-buy-a-new-one mindset is something I can’t get my head around and can’t openly supprt. Target was awesome while it was here, but the prices were a bit high and I think that’s what drove people away. I loved it though… it was fresh and new and I bought a lot of stuff there. I haven’t heard much about Toys R Us closing out this way, and if you’re ever really itching for a specific figure, I travel quite a bit and can always send something out to you. I know it still won’t be as good as getting to look at figures in the flesh, but it’s an option!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, Wal-Mart is definitely the epitome of low price, low quality! In the US, they have a bad reputation because the people who work there are often paid so low they need to be on government financial assistance so communities around a Wal-Mart end up basically funding part of Wal-Mart’s employment costs. The people who choose to shop at Wal-Mart also tend to be very unpleasant to be around and that alone keeps me away! Target is a big competitor with Wal-Mart and is popular with middle class people in the US (many of whom don’t like Wal-Mart) so that sucks that it didn’t last in Canada. Higher prices will do that and Target in the US is priced very affordably (though not Wal-Mart cheap either if that makes sense).

        That is incredible of you to offer to send me figures! Most of the figures I will want will end up being the hardest to find so it may take you some luck to get one but I can definitely let you know if World of Nintendo supply dries up here in Ohio and I need some help getting things. You are a very kind person and I really can’t say enough how much I appreciate your willingness to help someone across the border pursue their hobby! If I can ever help you with anything down here, just let me know and I’ll be happy to do so! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • I totally understand what you mean about Target being more middle class. Wal-Mart in Canada doesn’t seem so class-linked, and I see all types and kinds in there. It’d probably be a very different experience if you were to ever have the opportunity to visit one in Canada, unless you’re in a big city.

        And it’s truly no trouble. I do travel quite a bit in the summer months and I often find myself in places with Toys R Us stores. Keep me posted if you’re ever on the hunt for something specific and I will do the same if I ever think of anything I need out your way! I couldn’t imagine the prospect of retro game hunting drying up for me, so I’m happy to help you out if you need it 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m overgeneralizing a bit about class but that is how it tends to go. I think Wal-Mart offers an inferior product, an inferior shopping experience, and worse customer service (employees are usually lower class and have poor manners at times) and that is why middle class people gravitate to Target more.

        I still think that is very kind and if I can help you hunt down any retro games, I will let you know! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Where in Ohio are you? I’m NE, and there is never anything in any of my locals (TRU, Target, Walgreens, Walmart). This truly won’t be a big change for me, since my stores never stocked new waves anyways. I’ve relied on friends in other states to find new figures since I started collecting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi MC, I’m in Cincinnati so the opposite side of the state to you though I’ve been to Cleveland a number of times and have always enjoyed visiting. I’m surprised to hear that you’ve had that much difficulty finding World of Nintendo figures. If you don’t mind me asking, do you live in a more rural or urban area? That is the only thing I can think of that might be having an impact on what you see in stores. Thanks for sharing your experiences and I hope you’re able to find World of Nintendo figures more easily in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Here in the UK I think it’s less of an issue. The two main places I find WoN figures are at Forbidden Planet, a comic book/nerd memorabilia shop, and The Entertainer, a UK only toy chain. Both normally have a fairly sized section of shelving dedicated to Nintendo, and though it takes a little for new figures to ship, there are still plenty of options on this side of the pond.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Sam! Its always nice to hear from you.
      I’m glad to hear that things are better in the UK because Toys R Us is closing there too it sounds like. I have been to Forbidden Planet in NYC and really like it but there aren’t any of those in my town. I think they’re probably only in the biggest US cities. Sadly, the US also doesn’t have a dedicated, nationwide comic/memorabilia shop like the UK and Australia seem to have and I really wish that we did. I’m glad that the selection is good over there and I think a lot of us across the pond are worried it may no longer be that way here now! I buy things from the UK somewhat regularly for painting miniatures so I know how the shipping can take a bit of time too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It kinda sad because i never had won because i am from Brazil and they do not sell here and i have to import and it is too expensive the tax is more expensive than the toy itself

    Liked by 2 people

    • Guilherme,

      I’m sorry to hear that you have such a hard time collecting World of Nintendo in Brazil. It is easy to take things for granted here in the United States because we have several retailers who sell these figures at a fair price but I think your experience shows that we should not. I hope that it becomes easier to buy in Brazil in the future and thank you for sharing your perspective as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s a bummer that Toys R Us is closing! I have such fond memories of going there as a kid. At one point, the store near where I lived at the time had Donkey Kong Country 2 trading cards in their capsule machines, and I constantly begged my mom for quarters so I could get them! I still have all those cards, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is awesome! I didn’t know there were Donkey Kong Country cards that were released. That would be really cool to buy and own because it feels like DKC is really rooted in the past and represents a time and place in video games. I like collecting cards too! I have a lot of nostalgia from going to Toys R Us as a kid too and it has been hard to see the ones near me closing. It makes me sad to think that kids now may not have experiences like we did 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah apparently not too many people knew about those cards! I’ve seen them for sale on eBay from time to time but can’t find too much info about them online. I’m just happy I still have mine! I have a few different card collections, but I think those are my favorites! What type of cards do you collect??

        I know what you mean… I feel pretty sorry for kids these days too. There was something so special about going to Toys R Us and browsing all the aisles for what seemed like hours, just looking for that perfect toy!!

        Liked by 2 people

      • I will have to keep my eyes open for them because I’d love to have some DKC cards. I love the DKC games in general and having cards from era would be a lot of fun.

        I used to collect Star Wars cards primarily and with the onslaught of new movies and Topps, the company who made the cards, releasing too many cards, I finally got burnt out. I also collected Game of Thrones and Marvel cards. I’ve been thinking about starting to collect them again as I haven’t been spending as much money on figures lately with so few releases.

        While Toys R Us will probably never come back, I do think a dedicated toy store can work even in today’s market so maybe we’ll see a replacement chain for Toys R Us pop-up eventually. That would be great!

        Liked by 2 people

      • If you ever do come across some of those cards, definitely pick them up! They were really well done and besides having awesome artwork on the front, the backs of the cards featured character profiles, tips and tricks for different levels, etc.

        That sounds pretty cool! I understand what you mean about getting burned out though. I feel that way with Pokemon cards. I had quite a few when they first came out, but then there were so many released that I couldn’t keep track of them. I do like collecting cards though, because they don’t take up that much space and generally aren’t too expensive!

        You’re right, a dedicated toy store would definitely still be welcomed! Fingers crossed that it happens one day! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • I always like it when a card has nice info on the back to go along with good pictures so that does sound really good!

        I played Pokemon cards when they were new too and I got burnt out around the time the gym leader cards were coming out. I never went back to Pokemon cards and stopped playing the video games but I do love the design of Pokemon cards and still have my collection. I have some Charizards and a few other nice cards but nothing mind-blowing. The foil cards just look nice in Pokemon and I don’t understand why other card games and companies don’t make as nice of cards.

        It sounds like we both just have the card collecting bug! Funnily enough, since we last commented, I’ve started collecting cards again so I guess you just can’t get rid of the collecting bug 😀 It is good to be back and I’m excited to be collecting again, especially with the lack of figure releases lately.

        Liked by 2 people

      • What’s funny about me is I never actually played the Pokemon cards… I just liked collecting them! I tried playing a few times but never got into it, but still loved the cards. They are very nice quality and I love my collection, even if I don’t do much with it 🙂 I have a foil Charizard card that my grandma bought for me and I remember some of my friends were trying to trade with me and I said no way! Glad I did, cuz it’s a pretty cool card! I also have some Japanese cards that another friend gave me, and I’m pretty fond of those.

        You’re right, I don’t think you can ever get rid of the collecting bug! Which cards have you started collecting again? The last cards I bought were some Animal Crossing cards 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • That is a surprise but I bet there are plenty of people out there like you! They are great looking cards and Pokemon are made to collect! People would try to trade for my best cards too and I never traded anything unless it was to my advantage haha

        I wish that Amiibo cards had taken off because Nintendo cards would be amazing! I have bought Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Game of Thrones cards thus far. I’m trying to catch up on all the cards that came out in the last year or two while I stopped collecting 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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