Toys ‘R’ Us prepares its American comeback
Can a new version of Toys “R” Us succeed where the previous business did not? The former chief merchandising officer with the toy store chain, which closed its doors in the U.S. last year, thinks it can. Many vendors, who lost a major trading partner and money when Toys “R” Us shuttered its stores, are hoping it will.
According to reports, Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids, the company that now owns the Toys “R” Us trademark, has told vendors that plans are underway to open up to six new stores and launch a website later this year. Unlike the big boxes that Toys “R” Us operated before the chain liquidated, the new locations will measure around 10,000 square feet, including play areas.
Rather than buy goods from suppliers, the retailer may seek a consignment arrangement with vendors to help keep costs down, according to Bloomberg.
Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, which makes Bratz dolls, Little Tikes and L.O.L. Surprise!, welcomes the return of Toys “R” Us. “This market needs a self-standing toy store, that’s for sure,” he said. “We will sell them inventory.”
Mr. Larian, who tried to rally investors to save Toys “R” Us before it went under in its previous incarnation, more recently told the Los Angeles Times that his attempts to create a deal that would merge MGAE with toy giant Mattel had failed.
Since Toys “R” Us shuttered its stores in the U.S. due to a crippling debt load, a wide range of retailers have been scrambling to capture some of the $7 billion in sales the chain used to generate. Amazon.com, Party City, Target, Walmart and other retailers, including department stores, dollar stores, drug stores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs, have sought to gain from TRU’s loss.
Last November, Kroger sold a line of branded toys in 600 of its Ralphs, Smith’s, Fred Meyer and namesake banners with displays featuring Geoffrey the Giraffe, the Toys “R” Us mascot.
- Toys ‘R’ Us, back from the dead, will open U.S. stores, e-commerce site – Bloomberg/Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Toys R Us to reportedly open new stores later this year – CNBC
- Is Toys ‘R’ Us starting its comeback in Kroger’s aisles? – RetailWire
- Toy executive Isaac Larian ends pursuit of merger with Mattel – Los Angeles Times
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will American consumers return to new Toys “R” Us stores or have they permanently moved to other retailers at this point? What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the retailer in its comeback attempt?