business news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that Toys R Us, trying to find a new way to entice consumers into its stores, hoping to avoid the bankruptcy that hit KB Toys, is testing a new concept that it has called its “Geoffrey” store.

The goal of the unit is to sidestep the discounting competition that is driving toy prices down and driving customers to Wal-Mart, and instead create a “retailtainment” experience that combines “shopping and fun that includes extras like arts and crafts, haircuts, a photo studio, trading card card leagues, party rooms and story hours.”

"The Geoffrey stores are doing really well," Toys R Us Chief Executive John Eyler told Reuters in an interview. "They are fun, have a lot of activities and have knowledgeable staff so you can select just the right toys ... We're using it as a lab to test new ideas."
KC's View:
Of course, none of us would be hugely surprised if Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy protection tomorrow…it is sort of the nature of the beast.

Still, we’d like to see one of these stores next time we’re in rural Wisconsin, Texas, Mississippi and North Carolina, which is where the Geoffrey units are being tested. It always is interesting to watch retailers stretch the definition of what they are about.