Toys R Us makes UK comeback for Christmas 2022

Toys R Us is making a comeback in the UK through a new online-only platform, just in time for the holiday shopping season.

The retailer soft-launched its new ecommerce platforms (Toys R Us and Babies R Us) in September, and has now officially announced its return in the UK. Toys R Us closed every single one of its UK stores in 2018 after filing for bankruptcy, but still has a presence in countries around the world – including the US, where it’s currently set up shop inside Macy’s department stores.

The new websites are licenced through the Australian and New Zealand arm of the franchise, as first announced all the way back in October 2021. Despite rumblings at the time, however, there are apparently no concrete plans to bring back Toys R Us in a physical capacity in the UK – but Toys R Us ANZ’s CEO and managing director Louis Mittoni told Toy World that a few things are ‘on the boil’.

Toys R Us LEGO banner

“Tailoring our successful Australian relaunch plan to the UK echoes the success of other ecommerce platform play businesses that have delivered growth and value due to their ability to quickly and cost-effectively expand their software, processes, partner relationships and brands into new countries,” Mittoni said. “Since Toys R Us’ return to Australia in June 2019, we have scaled quickly as customers returned to the much-loved brand and our ecommerce model has proven its success.”

The UK’s total ecommerce toy market in 2021 reached a staggering £3.7bn – the largest in Europe, and the fourth-largest worldwide – so it’s no surprise WHP Global, the parent company of Toys R Us, has targeted these shores.

“The momentum behind the Toys R Us brand, and its return to key markets including the UK and United States, has been phenomenal,” said WHP Global CEO Yehuda Shmidman. “We are in early innings for what customers can expect from both Toys R Us and Babies R Us as we head into 2023.”

More than 300 brands are currently represented on Toys R Us’s new website, including LEGO. There’s a decent range of brand new sets, including plenty of 18+ models, from 76218 Sanctum Sanctorum and 71411 The Mighty Bowser to 42143 Ferrari Daytona SP3 and 76989 Horizon Forbidden West: Tallneck.

Everything is pretty much full price at the moment, however – with the exception of a handful of sets that are still at their pre-price increase RRP – and if Toys R Us wants to compete with other online retailers, it may need to start offering the same kinds of discounts we see through the likes of Zavvi, John Lewis and Argos.

Given the brand is online-only at the moment in the UK, it’s also difficult to say whether we’ll see the return of Toys R Us-exclusive sets. In the mid-‘00s, the retailer was a prime shopping destination for LEGO deals, exclusive gifts-with-purchase – including the legendary Chrome Darth Vader polybag – and sets sold exclusively at Toys R Us.

The LEGO Group still offers exclusives to individual retailers, but it’s generally those that have a physical presence, too – such as Smyths, Argos and John Lewis. While Toys R Us remains invested exclusively in ecommerce, it’s hard to imagine it joining that list.

For the best LEGO deals, make sure to check out our dedicated page, and check back regularly throughout November to keep up with all the latest Black Friday offers.

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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