Toys 'R' Us: Warren Kornblum

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Warren Kornblum may be 49, but he still thinks it's an "amazing time to be a Toys 'R' Us kid."

Over the last year, the exec VP-worldwide marketing and brand management for Toys "R" Us has worked to move the chain back to the top of the toy heap. Its longtime position as the nation's No. 1 toy retailer was lost to Wal-Mart Stores, but Toys "R" Us in 2000 for the first time in seven years started to gain market share.

Mr. Kornblum is moving Toys "R" Us away from commodity-like merchandise to private-label products. He also wants to apply the best practices of chains the retailer has acquired, such as Imaginarium, known for upscale educational toys.

He has overseen Toys "R' Us initiatives ranging from the renovation of stores to securing merchandising rights with Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment for "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," to be re-released in 2002.

Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, handles the retailer's advertising.

Mr. Kornblum, who previously headed his own agency, has a simple formula for marketing success in the toy biz: bring back the awe and magic of the toy store.

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