The Toys "R" Us brand will continue, as the retail chain that was once the largest toy store in the U.S. will return in time for Christmas 2019 with fewer than ten stores, each of which will be about a third of the size of a traditional Toys "R" Us big-box store. That's according to Bloomberg, whose sources say TRU Kids (the company built out of the remnants of Toys "R" Us) have finally figured out their plan moving forward after months of suggesting that there was life after toy-store death.
Apparently, the plan is for the stores to be about 10,000 square feet, with additional "experiences" like play areas to make them more of a destination. This makes sense in a market saturated with play places that sell toys and t-shirts out of their food carts, but is a different look than Toys "R" Us customers are used to. In the Bloomberg report, TRU spokesperson said that the company was not ready to share details on its relaunch strategy, but perhaps tellingly there is no indication that she actually denied the report.
TRU would also be operating an online storefront at ToysRUs.com in order to generate additional revenue, and mitigating costs by taking product on consignment from producers, and paying only when the goods have left the store. This has its own risks, especially in higher-theft areas where Toys "R" Us would be on the hook for merchandise that was never properly accounted for.
While the market certainly suffered from the loss of Toys "R" Us, toymakers and other retailers have figured out ways to soldier on without the retailer. That means TRU Kids will have to rebuild some relationships and build some new ones. According to Bloomberg, The Toys "R" US CEO has said that MGA Entertainment, who make things like Little Tikes, Bratz, and L.O.L. Surprise!, are already on board.
“This market needs a self-standing toy store, that’s for sure,” CEO Isaac Larian said. “We will sell them inventory.”
The previous Toys "R" Us stores were closed down after it became obvious that there was no clean path to getting out of financial trouble for ownership. They explored the idea of licensing Toys "R" Us but ultimately landed on a relaunch in the hopes that they can make more than licensing to a competitor would.