The Ghost of Toys R Us Haunts the Dallas Toy Show

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As I entered the Dallas Market Center for the first day of the Dallas Fall Toy Preview, I was greeted by a ghost. It appeared that there, right in the middle of the entrance, stood a happily waving Geoffrey the Giraffe. I, of course,  thought that Geoffrey was dead.  I rubbed my eyes to make sure it was actually him and not some apparition from the world beyond bankruptcy.I steadied myself and acknowledged the fact that it was indeed Geoffrey. I then felt a burst of emotion. It gave me the weirdest feeling. I didn’t know whether to hug him or punch him in the stomach (he was too tall to punch in the face). I am not a violent man so I pulled myself together and continued on my way. But why was Geoffrey there? I will write about that in my next posting. 

In fact, the show itself felt a little haunted. The Market Center contained a lot of empty space that was highly noticeable on the lower floors. It appears that the Market Center has been having trouble keeping tenants and it showed. That combined with the absence of some long time exhibitors and what appears to be a drop in attendance (no problems getting elevators or seats in the dining areas) created a sense of malaise in exhibitors with whom I spoke.   

Why the down turn in attendance? Certainly Toys R Us being out of business and not sending buyers had a lot  to do with it. Also, for the first time, I heard several references to what was being called "the other show" taking place in California. There are over 300 toy companies located in Southern California and for years, Mattel, Spin Master, Jakks and others have held line reviews for retailers in early October. That has always conflicted with the Dallas show but now some toy companies are choosing to set up shop at hotels in Los Angeles; hoping to draw retail buyers while in the area. 

All of this had a sobering impact on attendees. There was an expectation by those I spoke with that next year the show would either be moving to Los Angeles or even cease to be. That is not going to happen. I spoke with the leadership at the Toy Association and they assured me that the show is on for next year and that there are no plans to move it out of Dallas.

So, I guess I'll see you in Dallas next year. 

One thought

  1. Thanks Richard.
    First and foremost, I want to say that we, as Revenew Sales, have exhibited at Fall Toy Preview for just over 10 years (guess that would make it 11, huh?). We love Dallas and the show has always been an integral component in our annual planning for the upcoming year. In some ways, the show has become even better than it was when we first exhibited. There are shorter-term opportunities, with a couple catalog retailers actually adding some of our vendors for late Holiday catalog drops…Priority 1 Follow-Up List btw.
    The “LA Toy Preview” is a reality. It’s not going away either.
    So…we just need to have an open conversation on how best to integrate the two shows. Our buyers (as are we) are pulled in so many directions this time of year (add in NY Comic Con to the mix in 2018), that we HAVE TO figure out a way to create a more convenient “Mash-up” of our efforts.
    How do we all get to same city at the same time?
    If we can’t do that, how do we make sure that we don’t overlap each other’s shows?
    At the end of the day, we’re all in the same Toy Industry and we need to work together for the mutual benefit of everyone. I know that sounded a little old-school Saturday morning “Justice League of America “…but I think we all know what I mean.
    Thanks for Everything You Do!
    –Tom Rushton
    Revenew Sales

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