Amazon Wants to Fill the Hole That Toys ‘R’ Us Left in Your Heart
Insiders said millions of copies of the printed catalog will be sent to U.S. homes and distributed at Whole Foods Markets. Toys ‘R’ Us’ legendary holiday catalog, dubbed the Big Book, often topped 100 pages and was chock full of children’s wildest dreams.
When Amazon (AMZN) bought organic grocery chain Whole Foods last year for $13.7 billion, it was an unusual crossover from e-commerce to traditional retail. Creating a printed catalog also seems like a throwback to old-fashioned retail methods. But it could be a genius move to increase its visibility and desirability among young consumers.
Discovery was a huge draw for Toys ‘R’ Us stores, serving as a testing ground for up-and-coming brands. When the 70-year-old chain shut down its U.S. operations for good in June, analysts considered it a casualty of the Amazon era.
But the bankruptcy only affected American Toys ‘R’ Us outlets. The chain’s offshoot in Asia drew bids of over $1 billion in April, and Toys ‘R’ Us Canada, with 82 stores and $1 billion in annual sales, found a buyer for $300 million in early June.