Newell Sees a Surfeit of Strollers After Toys ‘R’ Us Collapse

(Bloomberg) -- Newell Brands Inc. is slimming down -- but thanks to the demise of Toys “R” Us, it has a glut of goods in one of its key categories.

The maker of Graco strollers and car seats didn’t foresee the liquidation of the 800-unit toy-and-baby-goods seller, which is is the process of shutting down its U.S. operations.

“We built a plan that assumed only 182 stores were going to come out this year,” Newell Chief Executive Officer Mike Polk said on the company’s earnings call Friday. Polk estimated that Toys “R” Us had about $200 million of baby gear when it began liquidation, with Newell’s market share in the “high 30s.”

Newell, a maker of goods as diverse as Crock-Pot slow cookers and Sharpie markers, said Friday it’s expanding a turnaround plan to include more brand divestitures, including a $2.3 billion sale of its Waddington Group tableware business. Last month, Newell settled a proxy fight over its plans to shed as much as half of its customer base following years of acquisitions.

Since the baby market’s not shrinking, “that hole will be filled by other retailers” in the second half of the year, Polk said. Newell has a leading position at most retailers, but not all.

“In one place in particular we don’t, and we’re thinking about how to make sure we get that faster than other people can.” Polk didn’t name that retailer.

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