Commentary

6 Shiny, New Toys R Us Under Wraps For Holiday Season Debut

Even more to the delight of toy manufacturers than to kids, it looks like about a half-dozen Toys R Us retail stores and a revitalized website will be reopening in the U.S. in time for this year’s holiday shopping season.

“The stores are slated to be about 10,000-square feet, roughly one-third of the size of the brand’s big-box outlets that closed last year, sources who asked to not be identified tellBloomberg’s Matthew Townsend and Joe Deaux, who broke the story. 

“The locations will also have more experiences, like play areas. The startup costs could be minimized with a consignment inventory model in which toymakers ship goods, but don’t get paid until consumers buy them,” they continue.

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Toys R Us announced in March 2018 that it was preparing to liquidate the company and shutter or sell its 735 remaining stores in the U.S. Earlier this year, Tru Kids Inc., doing business as Tru Kids Brands, officially became the new parent of Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Geoffrey the Giraffe and more than 20 established consumer toy and baby brands, TheToy Book’s James Zahn reports

Richard Barry, the former global Chief Merchandising Officer of Toys R Us, is the CEO of Tru Kids, which is headquartered in Parsippany, N.J. with a team of former Toys R Us employees. Toys R Us, which was based in nearby Wayne, N.J., had a vast global reach.

The Toys R Us and Babies R Us “brand power” generated more than $3 billion in retail sales in 2018 through more than 900 stores and ecommerce businesses in 30-plus countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the company stated  in a press release in February that sketched out its new direction.

A spokeswoman for Tru Kids tells Bloomberg’s Townsend and Deaux the company isn’t ready to publicly share details about its U.S. strategy. But Barry pitched his plans for Toys R Us at a recent conference in Las Vegas, Isaac Larian, the billionaire toy executive behind Bratz dolls and Little Tikes toys, tellsCNN Business’ Nathaniel Meyersohn and Chris Isidore.

“They're considering opening two stores to begin with and then go from there. I hope they're successful,” Larian says. “There is a need for an independent toy chain in the U.S., whether it's Toys R Us or something else.”

“Larian tried to buy roughly 300 Toys R Us locations in the United States and Canada last year. Toys R Us rejected that offer,” Meyersohn and Isidore remind us.

“Products will be available at ToysRUs.com, which the company hopes will help generate additional revenue. The company plans to help keep costs low by taking products on consignment from producers, paying only once goods have left the store,” Caitlyn Hitt writes at Popculture.com.

"Tru Kids Brands collaborated with Kroger during the 2018 holidays to set up ‘Geoffrey’s Toy Box’ at over 600 locations of the grocery store chain. That promotion used the famous giraffe mascot,” David Matthews points out  in the New York Daily News.

“Raising Toys R Us from the dead won't be an easy challenge. Since the closure of its 700 stores in 2018, competing retailers, such as Target and Walmart, have ramped up efforts to court toy buyers. The biggest threat will, of course, be Amazon. The ecommerce juggernaut released its own printed toy catalog and mailed them out to customers as a clear attempt to replace Toys R Us’ yearly catalog,” writes Raymond Wong for Mashable.

“Business aside, we're stoked for Toys R Us to return because as convenient as online shopping is, nothing beats going into a real store and seeing aisles and aisles of toys (and then inevitably being told by your parents you can only buy one thing),” Wong continues.

And then, like a true budding salesperson, wangling them into buying just one more.

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