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Toys ‘R’ Us to Launch Children’s Tablet

The Tabeo enters an increasingly competitive tablet market


Toys ‘R’ Us, owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (NYSE:KKR), Bain Capital and Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO), is getting into the tablet business.

The toy retailer announced today that it will launch its own child-friendly tablet computer. With the new gadget, Toys ‘R’ Us hopes not only to attract shoppers, but to stifle “showrooming,” the increasing tendency of shoppers to visit bricks-and-mortar stores to look at products, but then purchase them from online retailers at big discounts, The Wall Street Journal noted.

Toys R Us Waives Fee for Layaway Program
Toys R Us Waives Fee for Layaway Program

To that end, Toys ‘R’ Us’ new tablet, the Tabeo will be available only through the company. Retailing for $149.99, the Tabeo will hit shelves on Oct. 21.

The Tabeo joins an increasingly crowded market for table computers, with big-name companies scrambling to carve out a share of the market essentially created by Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad a few years ago.

Samsung, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and a host of smaller manufacturers have introduced tablets recently, some geared toward children. Just last week, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), a major online toy-retailing rival of Toys ‘R’ Us, unveiled its new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets. Apple is widely expected to release a smaller-screen iPad Mini next month.

With so many tablet options for consumers, the Tabeo is considerably less than a sure bet for the toy seller, which has been dogged by competition from other discount chains like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT). That competition has only accelerated as the economy has remained sluggish, causing toy sales in the U.S. to slip 2% last year.

Toys ‘R’ Us has weathered flat sales and lower profits for two years. Last quarter, its same-store sales fell 3.4%.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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