Toys R Us Plays Up Exclusive Merchandise for Holiday Season

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Moshi MonstersLet the holiday games begin.

Toys R Us took the wrapping paper off its strategy to "win" this Christmas season this week, unveiling a raft of exclusive merchandise, such as new toy line Moshi Monsters, based on the online children's game, and a beefed up e-commerce operation to better serve shoppers, executives said at a press preview event in New York City.

The giant toy chain is banking on exclusive products and off-beat merchandise -- the results of its merchants' year-long search around the globe -- to "set us apart and help us win with consumers this holiday season," Jerry Storch, chairman and chief executive officer of Toys R Us, said during the press reception.

The retailer's other exclusive products include Air Swimmers flying fish balloons and Trash Pack, toy garbage trucks.

And that's not all: It will also be playing up specialty products, such as Uglydolls, that -- while not exclusives -- aren't sold at other mass market toy retailers.

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To get the out message about its proprietary merchandise this holiday season, the retailer will roll out its first-ever catalog featuring "Only at Toys R Us" merchandise this weekend, showcasing nearly 350 exclusive items, including NERF N-Strike Sonic Series Blasters from Hasbro and the City Central Train Table from Imaginarium. The catalog will also call out big savings and feature 15 coupons. Toys R Us will continue to spread the word with a series of television commercials this fall.

The company is ramping up its product delivery engine to meet the demands of the biggest shopping months of the year.

To that end, it's expanding the "Buy Online, Pick Up In Store" program, and in October, the retailer will tap merchandise from its network of stores via a "Ship from Store" program designed to help fulfill and orders.

In a bid to support its growing online arm -- Toys R Us' e-commerce business grew 30% from 2009 to 2010 -- the chain opened a new distribution facility in July to expedite deliveries to shoppers on the West Coast.

And in the mobile-commerce space, the retailer's fastest growing selling channel, consumers can shop at Toys R Us' mobile enabled e-commerce site on their smartphones, or use the Toys R Us apps for the iPhone, iPad or Blackberry.

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