Monday, February 28, 2005

Wal-Mart, toys and Seth Godin

Seth Godin comments on Wal-Mart's impact on the toy business at his blog (he references this article from the New York Times). We've commented here on this issue many times when we featured Out of the Blue, Archie McPhee, Kuma Toy Bears and Playthings ... independent toy retailers succeeding despite Wal-Mart and Target. The point is that there are retailers providing a market outside of the big discounters and the toy industry should give itself a long-term boost by:
  1. treating the independents with respect, and
  2. not selling to the discounters.
Godin has it right -- small manufacturers and independent retailers can succeed together. And that's a good thing for those businesses and the entire economy. The Toy Industry Association should be encouraging growth in the number and quality of independent toy stores through instructional materials (like the American Booksellers Association's Manual on Bookselling) and training seminars. If they were really aggressive and smart, some of the manufacturers would band together to create a toy store franchise that stocks all their products.

Wal-Mart bashing is fun but pointless. There's plenty of profit potential in the toy market outside of the big discounters.


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