People everywhere mourned for their childhoods when toy retailer Toys ‘R’ Us shuttered its doors last year. However, even as stores were closing, there were murmurs about a potential revival of the brand. Now, its return is official with the introduction of Tru Kids Inc.
As of Jan. 20, 2019, the new company, doing business as Tru Kids Brands, became the parent company of Toys ‘R’ Us, Babies ‘R’ Us and Geoffrey the Giraffe, as well as more than 20 toy and baby brands.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write the next chapter of Toys ‘R’ Us by launching a newly imagined omnichannel retail experience for our beloved brands here in the U.S.,” Richard Barry, President and CEO of Tru Kids Brands, said in a press release. “In addition, our strong global footprint is led by experienced and passionate operating teams that are 100% focused on growth.”
He added that there is “huge consumer demand” for Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us, which seemed to be the case judging by the disappointment many fans felt when the brands seemed to be on their last legs a year ago.
In September 2017, after more than 60 years in business, the toy store filed for bankruptcy protection. It then filed for liquidation in March 2018 — a sign it planned to close its doors for good. Over 700 Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us locations welcomed their last customers in June 2018. The bankruptcy put lots of people out of work, and many of them have fought for severance pay. However, this past October, the bankruptcy auction for Toys ‘R’ Us-specific intellectual property was canceled, signaling hope for a revival.
Tru Kids will base its headquarters in New Jersey, with a number of former Toys ‘R’ Us executives on staff. Barry previously served as the former global chief merchandising officer at Toys ‘R’ Us.
Tru Kids will open 70 stores in Asia, Europe and India this year. Plans are also underway for the U.S., but so far, details are scarce. In order to avoid some of the pitfalls that led to Toys ‘R’ Us demise — particularly a failure to fully embrace the popularity of online shopping before it was too late — Tru Kids plans to differentiate itself from the old company with a focus on technology, in-store experiences and customer service.
In addition to a large e-commerce component, Tru Kids may also consider opening stand-alone stores, pop-up shops and partnerships with other brands.
Are you excited for the new incarnation of Toys ‘R’ Us?