BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : DECEMBER 4, 2000 ISSUE
COVER STORY

Fixing the Store


CEO Eyler has moved quickly to remake 167 of Toys 'R' Us's 707 U.S. stores in time for Christmas. The rest will be done by Christmas, 2002. Here is what he is focused on:

HELPING LONG-IGNORED CUSTOMERS
To preach his message of improving store service, Eyler conferred a dozen times face-to-face and by phone with senior field managers who run seven U.S. regions and met twice with every U.S. store manager. By Christmas, 225 Toys 'R' Us stores will have increased the number of people on the floor to help customers.

GETTING TOYS TO THE SHELVES
Last year, Toys 'R' Us stores ran out of core merchandise. This year, it ordered early. Eyler is promising to be 90% in stock through Christmas, up from 64% last year. He's giving a big push to private-label toys, such as Animal Alley stuffed animals, and predicts they will go from 5% of sales last year to as much as 13% this year.

A NEW LOOK
The newstore design does away with supermarket-style aisle displays, replacing them with toys clustered by interest in cul-de-sacs and X-shaped areas. The redo isn't cheap--it costs up to $800,000 per store. But sales are growing faster at the revamped stores. Next up: Eyler is building a lavish showplace store in New York's Times Square.



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