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Wampa Cave / ToysRUs has been bought
« on: August 19, 2021, 05:40:09 PM »

Putman Investments to buy Toys 'R' Us from Fairfax, brimming with ideas for overhaul

VAUGHAN, ONT. -- Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us Canada are getting a new owner, who is already full of ideas for how to revamp the retailer.

Putman Investments said Thursday that it will purchase the Vaughan Ont.-based brand and its 81 toy and children's stores from affiliates of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd.

The company didn't reveal the deal's value, but Fairfax chief executive Prem Watsa said in a statement that his company will benefit from a continuing royalty stream and keep the real estate it acquired when buying the retailer for $300 million in 2018 from its U.S. parent, which had filed for bankruptcy protection.

Doug Putman, who runs the family-owned and Ancaster, Ont.-based investment firm, said he pursued the deal because he felt Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us Canada were a "fantastic fit" for his company given his experience overhauling iconic retailers.

"We love buying businesses that we feel are undervalued. We love a good turnaround," he said.

"We definitely think that there's a lot more growth and opportunity with Toys "R" Us in Canada, so I think we're excited to take on the challenge and start growing the business again."

Putman Investments owns Sunrise Records and Entertainment Ltd. and HMV. Last year, it purchased recently closed DavidsTea locations to turn into locations for its T. Kettle tea chain.

The company has leaned on the nostalgia people have for the brands it has acquired when turning them around, but has also expanded into new product categories and worked on bringing a sense of discovery and excitement to the stores.

When Putman looked at Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us, he saw great products and enthusiastic staff, but thought the stores "need to get more fun" and become more of an experience for kids.

"We've got to look at everything through the eyes of a child," he said.

The Toys "R" Us Canada that Putman will take over has spent the last few years tweaking its locations and products and exploring new revenue streams.

When the U.S. entity was struggling, Toys "R" Us Canada unveiled a plan to add benches to play areas, where children can test new products or take part in crafts and games.

Former Toys "R" Us president Melanie Teed-Murch also considered allowing families to throw birthday parties at stores, opening smaller locations and exploring food and beverage integrations.

While not all those plans came to fruition, Putman appears to have similar ideas.

"We've got this list of 100 really great ideas, whether it's birthday parties or a place to eat or... because we own T. Kettle, do you do something where kids can come in and have tea with a princess or some of the other characters?" he said.

"I think there's lots of options out there for us."

Wampa Cave / These prices... they be going up
« on: August 11, 2021, 09:09:47 PM »
Yakface recently reported about this coming price increase for all toys, not just Hasbro toys, to happen in the near future.  It's pretty tough to stomach given that the last price increase (which technically happened at the start of August) is just barely being digested when an even bigger increase is coming...

Tonight I was musing to myself when this would happen. It's really tough seeing a formerly $18 TVC figure now going for $20.  Then I happened onto and saw that uhhhh, the new-new price increase seems to already be coming into play?

Emperor's Royal Guard is $23

Snaggletooth (a pegwarmer) is also $23 so it seems that it isn't only because the ERG is an armybuilder:

So is the TPM Battledroid.  There are still some figures like Bespin Leia, Greef, Endor Han, etc. that remain at the current $20 pricepoint.  I saw a Captain Rex sold by Amazon and not a 3rd party seller, for $24.

These are grim times to be a toy collector.  Grim times.

 :(  :(   :(

Wampa Cave / Jeremy Bulloch has passed away
« on: December 17, 2020, 04:43:29 PM »
Sigh.  Just when you thought 2020 was done...  RIP to the original Boba Fett

Wampa Cave / Dave Prowse, the man behind the Darth Vader mask, dies aged 85
« on: November 29, 2020, 07:24:39 AM »
Actor Dave Prowse, the man behind the Darth Vader mask, dies aged 85

Actor Dave Prowse died following a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington told the BBC, adding that his death is "a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world." Prowse was best known for his role as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, a character that was voiced by James Earl Jones.

However, his fans are also fondly remembering him as the Green Cross Code Man, a character that taught road safety to children across the UK.

Sigh. Because it's 2020 of course.  This year isn't done spreading its misery around enough.

RIP Mr Prowse.

Wampa Cave / There is no calm way to put this...
« on: August 21, 2020, 12:35:53 PM »

 :love0030:  :D :love0030: :love0030:  :artoo: :love0030:  :artoo: :love0030:

It's about frakking time!  This one looks like a must-buy, unlike the Bespin playset.

Now if Hasbro would only give the Rebel Fleet Trooper a holster this time...

Sometimes I don't think Disney understands how extremely precarious their situation with SW fans really is.  If they did, they'd be far more careful in how they word things online, especially when laying claim to people's tweets, even if the intent seems to be to feature those tweets in some later event.

Wampa Cave / Toys R Us changing its operating hours
« on: March 16, 2020, 01:26:07 PM »
I learned this the hard way today when I showed up at TRU at 10:30am.  The stores will now operate at reduced hours from 11am to 7pm.

Obviously it is due to the corona virus concerns and likely that they don't expect many people or families will be coming out to buy toys during this period.  The manager told me that this decision was told to him this morning, so the website may not have been updated yet to reflect this.

Wampa Cave / The next HasLab project
« on: March 02, 2020, 04:09:40 PM »
The next HasLab looks like it will NOT be Star Wars, which is a shame (but not surprising, I'm sure Hasbro wasn't going to do any work on Star Wars in case they didn't renew their licensing deal with Disney at a lower royalty rate).

Instead Haslab will be Marvel Legends of some kind... see here at the hint:

My guess would be a full 6-inch scale Galactus or Sentinel.

Wampa Cave / Talking ToyFair 2020
« on: February 21, 2020, 07:28:31 PM »
The big weekend is here... let's get ready to see what Hasbro has to unleash on SW collectors at ToyFair.

This first one is a nice surprise, the continuation of the retro vintage figure line with a nice Snowspeeder Luke!

Wampa Cave / Hasbro and Disney - the marriage continues
« on: February 21, 2020, 10:21:07 AM »
Good news... Hasbro and Disney are staying put and sticking with each other.  Hopefully Hasbro forced Disney to lower the licensing fees that they charge them (given the total debacle of the sequel trilogy and the mountains of unsold SW toys, Hasbro sure had a strong case).

Scout Report / NYCC announcements
« on: October 07, 2019, 09:48:14 AM »
Rebelscum has a nice summary of the various Star Wars products announced for NYCC here:

Ugh. I love the idea of a Dagobah 3-pack but they didn't even bother to fix those ugly arms on Dagobah Luke:

And in a SUPER-lazy move, they repacked an old Jawa figure for the TVC card.  No soft goods!!!!

Yavin Ceremony Leia just looks... unusually angry and/or unhappy. This is one that I would not order online because I'd want to make sure I didn't get "mopey Leia" by mistake...

TVC Shadow Trooper looks AMAZING!  Put me down for 5

Wampa Cave / Kevin Feige - you're my last hope...
« on: September 26, 2019, 01:18:10 PM »
MCU fans will recognize the name. He's the showrunner who raised the Marvel films to great heights, effectively becoming this generation's "Star Wars" for many, many kids... even as Star Wars itself was being bulldozed into irrelevancy and rehashed plots.

And now Disney finally wised up and are having Feige work on a Star Wars film. Hopefully the first step in him taking it over completely from KK and maybe working closely with Dave Filoni to get us out of this current mess.

Wampa Cave / Return of the Jedi (Obi-Wan, that is!)
« on: August 15, 2019, 02:00:06 PM »
It's about damn time... no one was really asking for SOLO (although I mostly enjoyed it) but tons of folk have been hoping to see a follow-up on eps3 Obi-Wan and we're now a step closer...

Wampa Cave / RIP Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)
« on: May 03, 2019, 09:03:24 AM »

Wampa Cave / Let's talk ToyFair 2019
« on: February 16, 2019, 03:08:10 PM »
Okay, we need a place to gab about TF2019.... so here we go.

Some great tidbits coming from JI's coverage of the Hasbro SW presentation.  Specifically:

Kenner line announced. Called the Star Wars retro collection, using modern scans, recreated original kenner detail, coor matched. 6 figures with Chewbacca, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker,Storm Trooper, Leia, Darth Vader. They are doing a brand new Grand Moff Tarkin in the Kenner style. Tarkin is being released in the Escape from the Death Star game reissue.

Tarkin?  Kenner style?  Yay!!!  But you have to buy a game to get him?  Booo!!!

edit: fans will be able to vote for upcoming retro figures. Yay!

Vedain, Skiff Guard 3-Pack. Jabba's Palace Adventure set with Carbonite block that attaches to Jabba's wall. Will have Taun Taun Head and Gera head on the wall. Ree Yees and Han Solo will be include and it will have Vintage Collection packaging.

Finally some SA love for the 3.75" scale... plus a new Skiff which I presume will come on Kenner packaging. 

Retro seems to be the hot thing for 2019. We've got Hasbro doing Kenner-style figures but also:

1) NECA continuing the Kenner ALIENS (and Predator) toylines, not as their 7" scale figures, but the actual original scale and look of the Kenner era toys - with action features (ughhh) and vintage packaging.

2) Super7 seems to have a barrage of nostalgic properties (uhm, Breakin?  Ghosts n Goblins?  MegaDeth?):

Among that though, wow ALIENS figures of Newt, Bishop, Hicks, etc.  Robocop, They Live, Toxic Avenger...

3) Mezco is doing 5POA retro... the Scooby Doo figures look amazing. The villains are ready to be unmasked and scream out "I'd have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling kids!"

Conclusion: 2019 is a good time to be an old-guy collector who was alive and geeky in the 1980s-early 1990s!

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