Toys R Us Plays With Social Discounts

by , Dec 12, 2012, 8:26 AM
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With stores in an all-out assault to win this year’s toy wars, Toys R Us is adding a gaming twist to its arsenal: Towers, a Facebook-based game that allows shoppers to play, learn, and earn discounts.

Created in partnership with Ubisoft, the game invites players to build their own toy store, where they can create a science toy department or add a Ferris wheel. Players progress through seven levels, amass the game’s currency, and eventually become CEO in order to win. As they play, enlisting Facebook friends along the way, players also earn discounts, valid at stores and online. Within the first hour of play, shoppers get a 15% off coupon.

Currently, Toys R Us says it has 3.4 million Facebook fans.

In the months ahead, the Wayne, N.J.-based chain says it will also be available in a mobile format.

The game is the latest in marketing innovations from Toys R Us, even as Walmart continues to run its anti-Toys R Us campaign, in which it calls out specific toys that are cheaper at Walmart, using onscreen price comparisons.

Meanwhile, the company reported a considerable loss in its most recent results, of $105 million for the third quarter, compared to $93 million, in part because of its holiday marketing plans. 

“Our primary focus during the third quarter was making strategic preparations for the important holiday season,” Chairman and CEO Jerry Storch says in its release. “We believe the new programs we've introduced such as Free Layaway, Price Match Guarantee, Hot Toy Reservation and our strengthened omni-channel offerings, including Ship from Store, have benefitted our customers and provided even more reasons to shop with us.”

Sales for the quarter slipped to $2.6 billion, a decrease of 3.4% from the $91 million reported the prior year, driven by a 4.1% fall in same-store sales.

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