Toys”R”Us is Now Tru Kids Inc.
Toys”R”Us has officially emerged as Tru Kids Inc., a new company, with new leadership and a new vision, according to a press release published today. Effective Jan. 20, Tru Kids Inc. doing business as Tru Kids Brands, became the parent company of Toys”R”Us, Babies”R”Us, Geoffrey and more than 20 consumer toy and baby brands.
Tru Kids is led by Richard Barry, the former global chief merchandising officer at Toys”R”Us, who will serve as president and CEO. Joining Barry on the executive team is Matthew Finigan as CFO; James Young as executive vice president of global license management and general counsel; and Jean-Daniel Gatignol as senior vice president of global sourcing and brands. Tru Kids, which is now based in Parsippanny, N.J., also appointed brand management veteran Yehuda Shmidman as vice chairman to advise on global strategy and execution.
Barry said that Tru Kids will usher in "a newly imagined omnichannel retail experience for our beloved brands here in the U.S." As for next steps, Tru Kids’ and its global partners will focus on bringing Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us to more customers through the opening of 70 stores this year in Asia, India and Europe, as well as the development of new e-commerce platforms in several key markets.
Total Retail's Take: This is certainly welcome news for the many parents and children who miss the beloved toy store, especially during the holidays. As we reported, Toys”R”Us liquidated its business last year, unable to emerge from bankruptcy after a crippling 2017 holiday season. Its lenders, including Solus Alternative Asset Management and the Angelo Gordon investment firm, took control of the company's intellectual property and announced in October 2018 that they planned to relaunch the U.S. Toys"R"Us retail business in the future, citing the value of its brand. Tru Kids, however, is still a work in progress. According to CNBC.com, it's exploring multiple options, including stand-alone stores, pop-up shops or partnerships. In order to be successful, Tru Kids will have to avoid some of the pitfalls that brought down its predecessor, such as an underinvestment in technology. Furthermore, Tru Kids will be challenged to win over toy makers, many of which severed relations with Toys”R”Us following its U.S. demise.
Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.