PARAMUS, N.J., Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Toys ``R'' Us, Inc. (NYSE: TOY - news) today announced its sales results for the 1999 holiday selling season (nine weeks ended January 1, 2000). Total sales for the holiday season were $4.4 billion for both the 1999 and the 1998 (nine weeks ended January 2, 1999) holiday selling seasons and total sales for the forty-eight weeks ended January 1, 2000 increased 6% to $11.3 billion from $10.6 billion for the comparable period last year.
Michael Goldstein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, ``Our sales for the holiday season mirror the challenges the industry is experiencing overall. Our comparable U.S. toy store sales were down 2% for the holiday season reflecting the deflationary impact of video hardware sales, as well as significant industry-wide shortages of R-Zone (video and electronics) and other hot products. For the year-to-date period, U.S. comparable toy store sales increased 3%.''
Turning to other parts of the business, Mr. Goldstein said that international comparable toy store sales, on a local currency basis, were flat for this holiday season compared to the same period last year. ``Our stores in Australia, France and the United Kingdom all reported comparable store sales increases, with France's comparable sales being up double digits, while comparable store sales in Germany, Spain, Canada and Japan declined. Strong performances from Furby, Pokemon and Star Wars products in most international markets were offset by a weak video game business this season. On a year-to-date basis, local currency international comparable toy store sales increased 1%.
``Our Babies 'R' Us division continued its strong trend of comparable store sales growth, reporting a mid single digit increase for the holiday season and a high single digit increase on a year-to-date basis. Comparable store sales at Kids 'R' Us were down low single digits for both the holiday season and on a year-to-date basis.
``Our toysrus.com Internet subsidiary had an extraordinary selling period, with our website becoming one of the top 5 e-commerce sites for the five weeks ending December 26th, 1999, according to Media Metrix. Had we been fully able to meet the demand of visitors to our site, we are confident that our Internet sales would have been significantly higher than the $39 million shipped during the holiday season and the $44 million shipped year to date. Plans are already underway to make additional improvements to all aspects of this rapidly growing business.''
Mr. Goldstein concluded, ``1999 was a year in which our major focus was on the strategic rollout of the C-3 concepts in our business. In retrospect, the rollout plan we developed was too aggressive and ambitious to ensure proper execution. In light of that, we were not able to reap the full benefits of this concept by year end, as we had anticipated. It is important to note, however, that these stores outperformed our traditional formats, and were able to handle the customer and merchandise flow. Because of this, we believe that the C-3 format will provide an excellent platform from which we can achieve more profitable growth in 2000, as our focus in these stores shifts from construction to merchandising and other exciting enhancements including more consistent execution. We ended 1999 with 170 stores operating in the C-3 format, and we also had 230 additional stores with retrofitted ''front-ends.``
Toys ``R'' Us, the world's leading resource on kids, families and fun currently operates 1,544 stores: 710 toy stores in the United States; 454 international toy stores, including franchise stores; 205 Kids ``R'' Us children's clothing stores; 130 Babies ``R'' Us stores and 45 Imaginarium stores. The Company also sells merchandise through its Internet sites at www.toysrus.com and www.imaginarium.com and through mail order catalogs.
This press release contains certain ``forward-looking'' statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which are intended to be covered by the safe harbors created thereby. Such statements should be considered as subject to risks and uncertainties that exist in the company's operations and business environment that could render actual outcomes and results materially different than predicted. Factors that could constitute risks are set forth in documents filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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