Retailers pulling out all the stops to reel customers in

Toys 'R' Us CEO Jerry Storch on upcoming shopping season


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 23, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Retailers are beefing up plans to reel in customers for the holidays. Reports that Hasbro is shelling more for advertising. Giants like Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us revamping layaway and reservation options to keep their customers happy.

The guy front-leading all of this is Toys "R" Us CEO Jerry Storch. Jerry, we were talking. You have your own kid iPad version, right?

JERRY STORCH, CEO, TOYS "R" US: Yes, we have a pad called Tabeo, which comes chock loaded full of kids applications, both learning applications, as well as the fun ones like Angry Birds, and it';s $149.99.

It's got...

CAVUTO: It's a lot cheaper than this -- half the price of the mini iPad, right?

STORCH: Well, parents love it because it gives their children a chance to use a pad and play with it. And it is...

CAVUTO: How's it doing?

STORCH: It is doing awesome. We have huge reservations for it. And it launches this week. And sales are through the roof.

CAVUTO: You hired a lot of temporary Christmas help. What were you saying, 45,000?

STORCH: Well, 45,000. Last year, it was 40,000. But we've added a lot of services to the store, like free layaway.

And layaway is just going fantastic, and a huge surge in people who are getting their products through layaway now that it's free at Toys "R" Us, so we need people who can handle this...


CAVUTO: When you say layaway, what does that mean? You go ahead and commit to get the gift or the present, when do you pay for it

STORCH: Customers come to the store, they pick the product they want, they put down a deposit, and they get it any time between now and December 16, and they pay during that period. They pay down on it.

CAVUTO: So, in other words, when they finally get it, they have to have it paid for.

STORCH: Of course.

CAVUTO: It's not like you are stringing them along, because that could be fatal.

STORCH: We've been doing this for – we've been doing this for years. And customers lover it because it gives them a way both to spread out their payments, but also, since what we're talking about here is a gift for your child for Christmas, it gives you have a chance to have us store it, instead of you storing it where they might find it.

CAVUTO: And, in other words, and you get the hot-sellers early. Right?


CAVUTO: What else is hot right now?

STORCH: Well, besides Tabeo, which is incredibly hot, we see huge pre-sales on Wii U. This is Nintendo's first new platform, first new basic system platform in a long time. And it's selling really well. Also, LEGOs remain very, very strong.

CAVUTO: Now, LEGOs have expanded to girls, right? I mean...

STORCH: LEGO Friends is one of the hottest selling LEGOs throughout many decades. Toymakers have tried to develop a construction project for girls, and now LEGO has a big hit with LEGO Friends. Also, Furby is back this year from Hasbro. And the sales on that are also very, very strong, so a lot of products.

CAVUTO: So you predict a good season, even though we got some worrisome numbers out of Radio Shack, that customers could be retrenching. You don't buy that?

STORCH: Well, the customer's very focused on value.

They love the free layaway. They love – we've announced our price match guarantee, and that's received tremendous response from our customers. So, they know when they buy it at Toys "R" Us, we will match anyone's prices. We have free layaway.

We have toys you can't find anywhere else. So the customer is thrilled. We have also seen past during economic times that the last thing parents cut back on is that holiday present for their kids. So we've tended to do very, very well even when the economy is tough.

CAVUTO: All right, you're already not sleeping, working seven days. It has begun.


STORCH: We're just focused on all those layaway orders.

CAVUTO: All right, Jerry, thank you very, very much. We'll be checking back with you throughout the holiday season.

Jerry Storch, Toys "R" Us CEO, he's really turned that operation around.

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