Things have been a bit less lighthearted since Toys R Us went under in 2018, but Geoffrey the Giraffe will be putting toys back in physical locations soon enough. Brand management company WHP Global recently acquired a majority stake in Tru Kids, the parent company that owns the Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands. Under new leadership, WHP has announced its plans to reopen several Toys R Us stores in the United States again, and it could happen before the end of the year.
“We are in the brand business, and Toys R Us is the most credible, trusted and beloved toy brand in the world,” Yehuda Shmidman, president and CEO of WHP Global, told CNBC on Monday. “We come from a year where the toys are on fire … And for Toys R Us, America is really a blank canvas … The restructurings hit the company a lot, and then Covid, hopefully, once in a century. But now we are overcoming those two things. And the sky is the limit. “
Previously, Tru Kids had tried to revive Toys R Us with some pop-up locations in the United States. At one point, Target was also powering the Toys R Us website with the brand struggling to stay alive. Unfortunately, the pandemic resulted in the closure of pop-up locations, and all purchases on ToysRUs.com are now simply redirected to Amazon.
Being optimistic about the future, Shmidman added: “The restructurings affected the company a lot. And then Covid is hopefully once in a century. But now we are getting past those two things. And the sky is the limit.”
With the recovery of Toys R Us stores in the US, Shmidman says this could come in various formats, such as flagships, pop-ups, airport locations, or mini-stores within other retailers’ stores. The company has not yet disclosed how many locations it plans to open in the country this year or beyond.
“There are so many malls that will no longer be there in the future, so we don’t need to be there,” Shmidman said. “But we could be in shopping malls that do have traffic … So we really have the opportunity not only to capture that experience for toys that people crave, but also to capture where. [people] wants to go shopping. It will be very interesting after Covid. “
Although Toys R Us went bankrupt and faced additional hardship due to the pandemic, some industry experts would say it makes perfect sense to resurrect stores at this point. There has been a continuous void left by the chain that sank nearly three years ago, and since then many have expressed a wish for the physical locations to return.
“While the US toy industry has demonstrated incredible resilience in the absence of Toys R Us, there is still a huge void for a truly national toy store chain,” said ToyBook Deputy Editor James Zahn to Yahoo Finance. “The key is to get it right; aside from the challenges of the pandemic, the experiment with [retailer] B8ta and the short-lived ecommerce game with target were the wrong moves, because at the end of the day, a toy store should aim to get families excited about toys. It wasn’t the right balance between experience and variety. “
Let’s hope things turn around for Toys R Us once they start reopening locations under their new owner. This news comes to us from CNBC.
Topics: Toys, Collectibles