Published: Sun, July 21, 2019
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

TOYS "R" US Stores Returning in 2019 with New Modern Concept

TOYS

Toys R Us on Thursday announced the start of a hoped-for USA comeback with the opening in November of two locations in New Jersey and Texas.

Richard Barry, a former Toys R Us executive and now CEO of the new company called Tru Kids Brands, says an online experience will follow. He says brand partners and more details will be announced in coming weeks.

However, the first two stores-located at The Galleria in Houston, Texas and at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey-will open in 2019 ahead of the holiday season.

Future stores will be slightly larger than the first two, at about 10,000 square feet.

Toys "R" Us still has 900 stores open in Europe, Asia and India.

AP wire stories helped contribute to this report.

The stores will be open before the holiday shopping season later this year. Toys R Us generated $3 billion in global retail sales in 2018. The joint venture will launch a "store experience that will deliver the hottest toy products and brands, carefully curated and showcased in highly immersive smaller-format spaces", in what sounds like an interactive playground designed for a mall-sized store.

For decades, Toys R Us was the nation's preeminent toy seller. But not as the giant warehouse stores everybody remembers with toys stacked to the ceiling. The company hopes the new locations will be "must-visit" destinations for parents and their children. The toy retailer had been generating about $7 billion in annual sales in the U.S.at more than 700 locations, including its Babies "R" Us brand.

"Toys R Us, which had basically devolved into a warehouse, did not have the vision or the money to give its customers a great experience", Howard Davidowitz, a retail consultant who worked with Toys R Us in the 1980s and 1990s, told The Washington Post in 2017.

An artist rendering shows the design for the new Toys R Us stores.

"We think that this is going to be scalable, and we think we can grow the business over time", said Barry.

A slow rollout is planned, with scattered stores opening across the USA, but if you're tempted to fly out to visit one, instead just head north to Canada, where there's still loads of Toys "R" Us stores all over the country.

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