Report: Toys"R"Us to Open New US Stores in 2019
Defunct children’s retail chain Toys"R"Us will open about a half dozen U.S. stores and an e-commerce site this holiday season, roughly a year after shuttering U.S. operations, according to a report in Bloomberg. Richard Barry, a former Toys"R"Us executive who is now CEO of new entity Tru Kids Inc., has been pitching his vision to reincarnate the chain to toy makers, including at an industry conference this week, a few people told Bloomberg, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren't public. The company liquidated its assets last year after entering bankruptcy in September 2017. The new stores are slated to be about 10,000-square feet, roughly a third of the size of the brand's big-box outlets that closed in 2018, the people said. The locations will also have more experiences such as play areas. The startup costs could be minimized with a consignment inventory model in which toy makers ship goods but don't get paid until consumers buy them, some of the people told Bloomberg. A spokeswoman for Tru Kids said the company wasn't ready to publicly share details on its U.S. strategy.
Total Retail's Take: This is welcome news for the many parents and children who miss the beloved toy store, especially during the holidays. However, It remains to be seen if this "experiment" will work. After all, when Toys"R"Us shut down, Walmart, Target and Amazon.com swooped in to fill the void in the toy category. Each of those retailers (and others) expanded toy assortments and marketing in the category, including a printed toy catalog from Amazon. Other nontraditional chains jumped into the category, including grocery stores and Party City Holdco Inc. There's also a question of how many toy manufacturers will do business with the new Toys"R"Us after many lost money when the former company announced liquidation in March 2018, just months after filing for bankruptcy. We'll find out soon enough if the market will support a free-standing toy store that has been re-imagined for the modern shopper.