Where Toys 'R' Us 'loyalists' are shopping now

The 2018 holiday shopping season started off with a record-setting Black Friday. And despite the recent pullback in stocks, retail experts are generally predicting a great December for shopping. The National Retail Federation forecasts overall U.S. holiday season spend to go up by 4.3% to 4.8%.

But it will be a holiday season without Toys ‘R’ Us, after the toy chain liquidated all 800 stores and cut 30,000 jobs.

Foursquare, the location tech company, conducted a study of shoppers who visited Toys ‘R’ Us at least three times in 2017, labeling those “loyalist” shoppers. (28% of Toys ‘R’ Us shoppers overall are high loyalty.) Foursquare then looked at which stores those people visited in Q3 of this year, after the closure of Toys ‘R’ Us. (Foursquare pulls this data from its own app and partner apps.)

RELATED: Every retailer who filed for bankruptcy in 2018

Every retailer who filed for bankruptcy in 2018
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Every retailer who filed for bankruptcy in 2018


Women's apparel and accessories retailer A'Gaci filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January. 

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Kiko USA

Cosmetics retailer Kiko USA Inc filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January.

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Tops Markets

Tops Markets operates 174 supermarkets — called Tops Friendly Markets. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

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The Bon-Ton Stores

The Bon-Ton Stores owns multiple department store chains including Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's, and Younkers. The company filed for bankruptcy in February.

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Remington Outdoor

Remington filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

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The Walking Company

The shoe seller The Walking Company, which operates 208 stores in the US, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

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The jewelry chain Claire's filed for bankruptcy in March.

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Southeastern Grocers

Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of the grocery chains Winn-Dixie, Harveys and Bi-Lo, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

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Nine West

Nine West Holdings filed for bankruptcy in April.

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Italian casual-dining chain Bertucci's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April.

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The footwear brand filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May.

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National Stores

The owner of the Fallas chain of discount stores filed for bankruptcy in August.

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Brookstone filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August.

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Samuels Jewelers

Samuels Jewelers filed for Chapter 11 with an agreement for bankruptcy financing in August.

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Toys R Us

Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in September.

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Mattress Firm

Mattress Firm filed for bankruptcy in October.

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Sears filed for bankruptcy in October.

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Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree see lift

Foursquare found that Walmart and Target picked up the largest share of Toys ‘R’ Us “loyalist” foot traffic: Walmart up 3.2% and Target up 2.5%. Dollar Tree and Walgreens also saw a bump.

Of course, those findings are no surprise: Target and Walmart are the chains everyone knew would benefit in the absence of Toys ‘R’ Us. As Foursquare editor-at-large Sarah Spagnolo said on Yahoo Finance’s live Morning Meeting show, Target especially has been “doubling down on toys, no surprise.” And Isaac Larian, CEO of private toy-seller MGA Entertainment, said on Yahoo Finance’s Midday Movers live show last month, “I think Amazon and Target are going to really get a lion’s share of that business, because they’re poised to do so.”  

But one of the chains to benefit is a bit more of a surprise: GameStop.

A ‘meaningful increase’ for GameStop

GameStop, the video game shop, saw a 0.4% bump in foot traffic from the Toys ‘R’ Us “loyalists” after the disappearance of Toys ‘R’ Us.

That figure may look small, but it’s double the share Foursquare had of Toys ‘R’ Us shoppers in the past. It’s a “meaningful increase,” Foursquare’s Spagnolo says, for a smaller company with a $1.38 billion market cap.

Spagnolo calls the GameStop bump “the surprising, most meaningful change” Foursquare saw in its study. And in a blog post, Foursquare calls GameStop the “underdog winner this holiday season.”

Daniel Roberts is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance. He hosts the live show Morning Meeting and the podcast Sportsbook. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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