This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, February 12, 2002. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: If you need hints on where to get the latest and the greatest gadgets in toyland, my next guest says — well, he's got the place for you to go. He's the CEO of The Right Start. It's a toy company that just bought FAO Schwarz. Jerry Welch is his name. Good to have you, Jerry. Thanks for coming.
JERRY WELCH, CEO, THE RIGHT START: Thank you, Neil. It's good to be here.
CAVUTO: How is the toy industry looking?
WELCH: I think it is looking fantastic right now. There are lots of predictions that the fourth quarter was going to be very rough, and I think most of the toy companies came through it very, very well. We have been at the toy fair the last several days and the amount of new product that is going to be introduced this next year is just terrific.
CAVUTO: But isn't the argument that there is still too many toy stores out there, I mean, Toys "R" Us is shuttering a few. You guys are and, you know, that maybe there was an overbuilding, a glut?
WELCH: Well, certainly there's lots of place that sells toys. The last several years is we did out a lot of stores and I think we are pretty much done in terms of store closings.
CAVUTO: Really? So that part is over with?
CAVUTO: In New York, and of course, your FAO Schwarz location is sort of like an international icon, you know, the movie "Big" — a lot of it was filmed there. Did it lose a lot of it's oomph with Toys "R" Us opening up a huge store not far away?
WELCH: No, it really didn't. The Toys "R" Us is a terrific store, In think they did a great job, but in all honesty, we cannot tell any impact on our FAO Schwarz store on Fifth Avenue.
CAVUTO: Even a little bit?
WELCH: No, we really can't. I think this is a case where it is New York. There is 9 million people. There is lots of tourists. Certainly, it can accommodate two world class stores, and so I think they did a fantastic job. But we feel very good that our store will always do well. It is a special store. It is special to millions of America.
CAVUTO: But what's hot right now?
WELCH: There's no one toy that really just sort of comes to the front and it's just real hot...
CAVUTO: We haven't had that since the Cabbage Patch phenomena, have we? Almost 20 years.
WELCH: Well, the Beanie Babies and Pokemon. We went through those.
CAVUTO: The Pokemon thing though came and went, didn't it?
WELCH: True, true. There is a lot of very good toys out there. Probably the biggest trend right now is focused on preschool toys, ones that has educational value, developmental value. All the big companies are rushing to develop systems and products in those lines.
CAVUTO: And in your business, even if the parents are hard hit, they do not spare the kids, right?
WELCH: Families cut back on a lot of things before they cut back on spending on their kids. Most people want to indulge their kids, and thank goodness for us, they do that.
CAVUTO: All right. Jerry Welch, thank you very much. The Right Start CEO, and they own, of course, FAO Schwarz.
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