Toys R Us is really aiming for this holiday season to bring in some big bucks. As a result, the company is hiring 13% more seasonal help than it did last year, hiring 45,000 temporary employees across the U.S.
Why the need for all the extra folks? Well, the retailer is planning to have 50 more pop-up shops than it did last year across the country and it is, of course, very excited about the revenue possibilities for its new made-for-kids-tablet called Tabeo, a featured item on its 2012 Hot Toys List.
Of course, it remains to be seen if the store's proprietary $150 Tabeo is going to hit its stores, as planned, in October. Fuhu, the Taiwanese manufacturer of the kid-friendly Nabi tablet that Toys R Us sold before Tabeo, is attempting to block its sale with a lawsuit claiming intellectual property infringement.
Fuhu Inc. (Los Angeles-based and part-owned by Taiwan's Acer with investors including Foxconn and Kingston Digital) filed a lawsuit on Monday that claims that Toys R Us Inc. “stole trade secrets in preparing to introduce the rival Tabeo tablet this month” (it's now taking orders), according to Reuters.
In Nov. 2011 Toys R Us and its Babies R Us subsidiary became the exclusive seller of the Android-powered Nabi, which came pre-bundled with Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja among other games, but Fuhu feels it didn’t heavily promote the product (despite positive reviews in TIME and Wired). Now Fuhu is saying that this prior agreement was made only so the retailer could dig up secrets on how to market its own Android-powered kids tablet, Reuters reports.
"Toys R Us used Fuhu's trade secrets and confidential information to start selling Tabeo, which systematically attempts to replicate the Nabi experience, far earlier than Toys r Us could have done otherwise, if at all," the lawsuit said, according to Reuters.
Last week's Toys R Us holiday 2012 press release highlights its proprietary products including "kid-friendly tabeo™, its first-ever wi-fi tablet loaded with the content kids want, as well as safety features desired by parents. tabeo is currently available for pre-sale at Toysrus.com and will be in stores nationwide on October 21," not mentioning that it previously exclusively sold a "wi-fi tablet loaded with the content kids want" just eight months earlier, in Nabi.
Indeed, the Toys R Us Nabi press release from Nov. 2011 quotes Troy Peterson, Vice President, Divisional Merchandise Manager, Toys"R"Us, U.S., saying:
"As part of the expansion of our electronics department, we're constantly introducing the newest gadgets for kids and parents. We're excited to be the exclusive retail partner for both the Nabi tablet and Nabi accessories, and we believe they will be a hit with our customers who are looking for a tablet geared specifically toward kids."
Nabi, meanwhile, hasn't been exclusive to Toys R Us since January, and is now available for $200 at retailers including Amazon and Walmart.