Toys R Us will be back in the USA later this year, relaunched in a new format by Tru Kids Brands.
Tru Kids Brands, the company that emerged from the ashes of Toys R Us retaining the licence for the brand, has announced that new Toys R Us stores will open in the USA this year. The company has partnered with retailer b8ta to re-imagine the stores model and introduce more interactive elements.
The first two new Toys R Us stores will open in time for Christmas, located in The Galleria in Houston, Texas and in Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey.
“With a 70 year heritage, the Toys R Us brand is beloved by kids and families around the world, and continues to play a leading role in the hearts and minds of today’s consumers,” said Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids and Interim co-CEO of the new Toys R Us joint venture. “We have an incredible opportunity to entirely reimagine the Toys R Us brand in the U.S. and are thrilled to partner with b8ta and key toy vendors to create a new, highly-engaging retail experience designed for kids, families and to better fit within today’s retail environment.”
According to the announcement, these new stores will be a long way from the warehouse style retail destinations that customers associate with the brand. The new generation of stores will be “highly interactive with new events and activities every day”, designed to be a “playground-like environment”. There will be the opportunity to play hands-on with new toys in store, brush up on STEAM skills and meet Geoffrey the Giraffe.
“As a kid, my memory of Toys R Us was running up and down the aisles kicking balls and playing with the coolest toys,” said Phillip Raub, co-founder and president of b8ta and Interim co-CEO of the Toys R Us joint venture. “As the retail landscape changes, so do consumer shopping habits. But what hasn’t changed is that kids want to touch everything and simply play. In partnership with Richard and his team, we are excited to bring back Toys R Us in an immersive way, focused on creating a fun and engaging experience for kids—and adults, too.”
“We launched b8ta to change the fundamental infrastructure of retail, from the business model to the customer experience. b8ta is proud to bring Toys R Us stores back to the U.S. alongside our partner, Tru Kids, and with our Retail as a Service platform as its engine,” said Vibhu Norby, CEO of b8ta. “The new Toys R Us stores will be the most progressive and advanced stores in its category in the world, and we hope to surprise and delight kids for generations to come.”
More stores are planned for 2020, following the two openings this year.
When Toys R Us closed in 2018, workers were left with uncertain futures and little in severance pay, with a court finding that $2 million is due to workers who lost their jobs.