It's been almost three years since all of the Toys R Us stores closed in the United States after the parent company for the brand filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In the time since there have been attempts to revive the brand with pop-up stores debuting in select locations (meaning very few) but even those couldn't last as the final two were closed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the Tru Kids parent company, which owns Toys R Us, Babies R Us and Geoffrey the Giraffe, has a new owner and they intend to re-open stores around the United States once again in a variety of locations and styles.
"We're in the brand business, and Toys R Us is the single most credible, trusted and beloved toy brand in the world," Yehuda Shmidman, chairman and chief executive officer of WHP Global revealed to CNBC in an interview on Monday. "We're coming off a year where toys are just on fire. ... And for Toys R Us, the U.S. is really a blank canvas....The restructurings took a big toll on the company, and then Covid is, hopefully, once in a century. But now we're getting past those two things. And the sky's the limit."
Following the bankruptcy filing for Tru Kids there were further attempts to keep the Toys R Us brand alive including partnering with Target and later Amazon for online shopping of toys. Now though Shidman says the plan is to once again open stores across the US carrying the brand name. In addition to the large flagship stores, he noted they intend to do more pop-ups as well as locations inside airports and mini-stores inside other retailers (like what The Disney Store has done inside Target). No number has been set for how many stores they intend to open, but they're aiming for this year and before the holiday season.
"There are so many malls that will no longer be in the future, so we don't need to be there," Shmidman added. "But we could be in malls that do have traffic. ... So we really have an opportunity not just to capture that experience for toys that people are yearning for, but also capture where [people] want to shop. That will be very interesting post-Covid."
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(Cover Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)0comments