Friday, July 17, 2009

Toy R Us vs. Toy Kingdom

Toys R Us and Toy Kingdom, two of the biggest names when it comes to toy-centered retailers in the country today. A mere mention would probably bring ear-wide smiles to most kids and plus a couple of swipes to their dad’s (or mom’s) credit card.

Toys R Us or (or Toys Я Us) is a toy store chain based in the United States and has locations in Europe, Asia, Oceania, Canada, and Africa as well. Toy Kingdom, on the other hand, is based in the Philippines - owned and developed by the SM Group.

The Toy Kingdom franchise is exclusive only to SM mall branches such as SM Megamall, SM Southmall, and SM Mall of Asia. A lone exception to this is The Podium which also operates a Toy Kingdom express store.

Unlike Toy Kingdom, the Toys R Us branding is carried by more malls such as all Robinson’s malls (Galleria, Places, Midtown, etc.), Trinoma mall, Festival Supermall, and Tutuban Center.

Despite the numerous branches of Toys R Us in the country and after buying (on a number of different occasions) in some of their local branches (Galleria, Trinoma, and Metro East), I still feel that the Toy Kingdom (Megamall) "experience" is far far better. Probably because Toy Kingdom (Megamall), with its innovative store design and very distinctive toy zones, was able to capture the awe in kids and parents alike.

From its modest beginnings in 1991, Toy Kingdom was cited as the best toy store in 2006 by the Philippine Retailers Association.

Today, Toy Kingdom’s different zones will amaze one through a wonderful selection of recreational, educational, interactive, and collectible toys. Here are the lists of a few of those zones:

In all fairness, Toys R Us has the largest toy store in the United States (and possibly the world) with its flagship store located in New York City’s Time Square - even featuring a colorful Ferris wheel.

But if I ask my 3-year old daughter "where do you want to go and look for toys", she’ll immediately answer "Toy Kingdom". Other than she can barely try out any toys at Toys R Us here, she finds their toy personnel intimidating (she always grabs me by the leg whenever one of the staff is near us). Imagine, instead of offering us the coolest or the most creative of toys for my daughter, they just stood there barely enthusiastic either at us or at their work, as if sending the impression "if you’re not going to buy anything, don’t touch anything".

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