The last Toys “R” Us stores closed on June 29, and those closures included the chain’s Babies “R” Us stores. Since the bankruptcy filing was announced, Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has added some 30,000 items to its assortment of baby gear and search traffic for baby items has jumped 40%.
Sensing an opportunity, the mega-retailer on Thursday launched its own website (actually a landing page from its main site) featuring furniture in curated collections of the most popular nursery styles.
Lauren Uppington, vice-president and general manager of Walmart’s baby e-commerce business, noted in the announcement:
This new, dedicated nursery experience complements our broader baby assortment online, which we’ve been growing aggressively by adding more than 30,000 new items over the past year, including Chicco car seats and strollers, Delta Children products, Skiddaddle by Skip Hop baby accessories, the SNOO Smart Sleeper bassinet by Happiest Baby and Water Wipes. It also follows efforts to create a new in-store experience in the baby department in more than 2,000 stores across the country.
The global market for baby-care products is estimated to total around $11.4 billion this year, growing to $13 billion by 2021 according to Statista data cited by CNBC. That’s a sizable enough market to make it worth some effort on Walmart’s behalf.
That’s especially true since there is no clear leader in the space. Bed, Bath & Beyond’s baby division, Buy Buy Baby, has struggled with traffic to its brick-and-mortar stores in the face of online competition from Amazon, Target and now Walmart.
Grouping products by decor style in curated collections is intended to simplify shopping for nursery items like cribs, dressers and changing tables. Each collection includes matching bedding items, diaper pails, rugs and even chairs so parents can take a well-deserved break.