David Brandon is addressing the retailer’s pre-holiday troubles head-on in an email campaign to customers.
The Toys R Us chairman and chief executive laid his cards on the table in a “Dear Valued Customer” message, stating: “I want to assure you that you can continue to shop with us with confidence, in store or online.”
Brandon explained that the Chapter 11 filing was voluntary, and was designed to strengthen the chain’s financial position and allow it to reinvest for the future. He also stressed that the stores are open for business and ready to serve, and that all registries, loyalty programmes, gift cards and warranties will continue to be honoured.
Other holiday enticements include a price match promise; parents-only evenings with toy experts, games, sweepstakes and goodies; layaway services with gift card giveaways; and a full day of in-store augmented reality play for kids.
Depending on the response, the company may up the ante with social media outreach and national TV spots. As global chief marketing officer Carla Hassan told the Wall Street Journal: “We’re actively monitoring what consumers are saying. If we reach an inflection point with consumer sentiment and we’re hearing enough concern, we will be prepared to activate communication and engagement tactics. We’ve developed ideas that span from social-media activation to ads that would live on national TV and digital, to reassure people that we’re not going anywhere.”
Going forward, the retailer has received commitments for over $3b in new financing that will help keep the doors, website and accounts payable department open, at least for the immediate future.