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.
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.
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.
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.