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Toys “R” Us, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Storch Testifies at Senate Hearing on Toy Safety

Miscellaneous: Jay Cochran - 2007.09.12
Today, Jerry Storch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Toys “R” Us, Inc., the nation’s leading toy and baby products retailer, testified on the issue of toy safety at a special hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. In his testimony, given this morning, Mr. Storch reaffirmed the company’s support of proposed federal legislation to build a more effective Consumer Product Safety Commission, strengthen third-party testing requirements for products, and introduce production code stamping. In addition, the company also announced new steps it is taking to ensure customers receive even more rapid and detailed information regarding toy safety issues.

In his testimony, Mr. Storch commented, “We recognize that the issue of toy safety goes well beyond business and directly to the well-being of the families we serve. We have reiterated that simple, single fact to our employees, suppliers and business partners. We will not tolerate products that do not meet our rigorous safety standards.”

Mr. Storch commented on product recalls from the perspective of a retailer, and discussed the company’s strict procedures for handling these recalls. On the issue of how to improve the recall process, Mr. Storch said, “We believe the recall process itself could be improved in two ways: First, we support legislation shortening the timeframes during the period between identification of a problem and the eventual recall of that product. Second, we also believe that production code stamping of products and packaging would significantly help in tracing potential safety issues.”

In addition, Mr. Storch shared with the Subcommittee some of the company’s requirements of its manufacturers to help reduce and prevent future recalls. In his testimony, he stated, “There are three prongs to effective prevention of problems: setting standards, comprehensive testing to ensure compliance with those standards, and deterrence through real consequences if the standards are violated. We have long held our vendors accountable for meeting strict safety standards. There is no room for compromise. And if a vendor does not meet our standards, we take immediate action. To strengthen deterrence even more, we support increasing penalties for noncompliance.” He continued, “We are also moving to require that our vendors submit to us certification of testing for each batch coming to Toys “R” Us. To reinforce this direction, we strongly support strengthening third-party testing requirements. Specifically, we advocate for legislation requiring accredited certification of testing facilities.”

Mr. Storch concluded his testimony by saying, “Recent events have catalyzed increased scrutiny in manufacturing, tighter controls and substantially more and more product testing. This is good news for us and our customers. Against this backdrop, and with the combination of these efforts by retailers, regulators, and manufacturers, we believe that together we will make this the safest of holiday seasons for American consumers.”

As part of its ongoing commitment to safety, Toys “R” Us, Inc. today also announced new enhancements to ensure its customers have the most specific and up-to-date information on toy safety issues. Mr. Storch shared these new initiatives with the Subcommittee, which include:

- Launching a dedicated toy safety microsite, www.Toysrus.com/Safety, that has information about the company’s safety assurance standards and procedures, as well as specific recall information;

- Introducing an email notification system for recalls;

- Adding bilingual recall notices to its communication protocols; and

- Introducing new Safety Boards in stores, which will contain important product safety information, including recall notices.

These improvements are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to raise the bar continually when it comes to the safety of children. These new measures were developed to deliver rapid and decisive communications to customers about safety issues.

More information about the Toys “R” Us, Inc. safety assurance requirements can be found at www.Toysrus.com/Safety. The full testimony given at today’s hearing can be found at www.Toysrusinc.com/PressRelease.

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