Toys ‘R’ Us to update U.S. store base; creating store of the future
New York — Toys “R” Us has launched a new strategy to drive future growth that includes a big emphasis on improving its in-store customer experience.
The nation’s largest toy retailer said it will update its existing stores to make them easier to shop, focusing on everything from the restrooms and lighting to the flooring and signage. It also is committed to reducing in-store clutter and improving in-stocks and checkout speed (slow checkouts registered as a big customer complaint in its research.).
“Customers feel our stores need a better execution,” said Antonio Urcelay, chairman and CEO, Toys “R” Us, during a presentation Tuesday at the chain’s Times Square flagship.
The retailer also said it is developing a store of the future, with an unveiling likely in late 2014. And it will no longer focus on putting its Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores side by side.
“We completed the planned rollout of the side-by-side stores,” said Hank Mullany, president, Toys “R” Us U.S. He added that the chain learned that Babies “R” Us customers do not like the side-by-side environment as much as they do the standalone concept.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Toys “R” Us has no plans to close a large number of stores.
“Reports of us closing a large number of our stores in the United States are not accurate,” said Urcelay, who added that the majority of the chain’s U.S. store fleet is “very profitable.”
Walmart tests new c-store format, Walmart To Go
New York — Wal-Mart Stores is testing a new convenience-store concept called “Walmart To Go,” with the initial location in the chain’s hometown of Bentonville, Ark.
The new store offers convenience store products, prepared foods and gasoline. At approximately 2,500 sq. ft., Walmart To Go is much smaller than the company’s other small-format concept, Walmart Express, which averages about 15,000 sq. ft.
Walmart also has a grocery delivery service with a similar name, WalmartToGo.com, in two markets.
Weather was no match for Conn’s in fourth quarter
Everything from portfolio growth to weather posed a challenge to Conn’s, but it was no match as the company’s business model remained resilient in the fourth quarter.
Conn’s reported net income of $27.73 million in the quarter of fiscal 2014, up 57% from $17.66 million in the same quarter the prior fiscal year.
Net sales surged 45% to $301.63 million from $250.34 million, and same-store sales grew 33.4%. Conn’s said significant sales growth was reported across all major product categories during the quarter, and the company opened six new stores in that time.
During the full fiscal year, net income soared 78% to 93.45 million and total net sales increased 39% to $991.84 million from $714.26 million, while same-store sales grew 26.5%. Significant gross margin expansion positively affected Conn’s net income results.
During fiscal 2015, same-store sales are expected to grow 5%-10% and the company plans to open 15 to 20 new stores.