Toys R Us Returns With Two New Stores for the Holidays
Toys R Us is set to open its first two new stores this holiday season, reports CNBC. The re-imagined storefronts signal the iconic toy brand's return to brick-and-mortar retail after the company liquidated last year and closed all of its stores. The first of the two smaller-format, permanent Toys R Us stores debuts Saturday at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey, and the second will open in early December at Simon Property Group’s The Galleria in Houston.
The stores feature several interactive offerings, such as multiple play areas for children to test toys; a treehouse in the center of the store for kids to climb; an event space for in-store birthday parties; and weekly programmed public events. Toys R Us parent company Tru Kids partnered with software retailer b8ta to lease out space within the store to toy brands and install sensors in the ceiling to gather data on how kids and shoppers are experiencing the stores.
Total Retail's Take: Shoppers local to the new Toys R Us stores are sure to flock to them out of curiosity, nostalgia and a search for great deals. The brand's strategy to re-emerge with physical stores during the holiday season is smart, as most parents and consumers shopping for kids still have limited in-store options when searching for toys.
Parent company Tru Kids recognizes that today's consumers expect more than just product from stores. President and CEO Richard Barry said that the brand "wanted to make sure that everywhere you turned in the store there was interactivity.” The multitude of experiences offered inside the stores should give the iconic retailer a boost in foot traffic, and certainly elevates it above most other retailers selling children's toys, including Target and Walmart. Toys R Us still has a long journey ahead to regain its footing in the toy space, but this first holiday season should provide a substantial boost to the brand.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Women in Retail Leadership Circle and sister brand Total Retail. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for both brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment recording interviews with retailers.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.