Online sites, stores fill void left by shuttered toy retailers this holiday season

WASHINGTON — Now that Toys R Us — the most iconic name in toys — has closed its doors, online and brick-and-mortar retailers are working to fill the void left by what used to be the go-to name in holiday toy shopping.

As online shopping continues to capture more of the market share during the holiday season, internet retailers like Amazon and are some of the most popular websites for parents.

And some companies are even using crowdsourcing to get their products out there.

“A lot of manufacturers are selling direct through eBay,” said Chris Byrne, who is known as “The Toy Guy.”

Besides online retail, some stores not known for selling toys, are stocking shelves with items for children, because Toys R Us, KB Toys and others are no longer easy stops in shopping malls.

The company that runs Party City stores has gotten in the holiday toy game by opening about 50 temporary “Toy City” stores around the country, though none are located in the D.C. area.

And Party City isn’t the only store trying to court toy buyers.

“Walmart and Target have expanded their toy offerings,” Byrne said. “Walmart has announced that they’re going to have more in stock going later in the season. They used to sort of sell out and say ‘OK, we’re done’ but now they’re really trying to be in-stock.”

Changes in shopping habits is another reason why more retailers are stocking up, The Toy Guy said.

“The toy-buying season, because of gift cards, really does extend beyond December 25th,” Byrne said. “For a lot of kids, they then take those gift cards and go buy toys.”

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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