Toys “R” Us is making a comeback in brick-and-mortar.
The retailer, which declared bankruptcy last March, is set to open two permanent stores in November as part of a joint venture agreement between parent company Tru Kids and retail tech start-up b8ta.
The partnership, which was announced today, would introduce Toys “R” Us stores to shoppers at Simon Property Group’s Galleria mall in Houston and Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. — just in time for the holidays when the bulk of its business is done.
The smaller-format spaces will allow customers to view toys out of their boxes prior to making purchases as well as host brand demonstrations and on-the-ground playplaces. Unlike the 40,000 square feet that used to comprise a traditional Toys “R” Us store, the new locations will span about 6,500 to 10,000 square feet.
“As the retail landscape changes, so do consumer shopping habits,” said b8ta Co-founder and President Phillip Raub, who also serves as interim co-CEO of the joint venture. “But what hasn’t changed is that kids want to touch everything and simply play.”
The playground-like stores will be powered by b8ta’s retail-as-a-service platform, an all-in-one business model that provides services such as payment processing, loyalty programs and support. The companies plan to open more locations in major U.S. cities throughout 2020.
The move marks a new era for Toys “R” Us, which seeks to turn around its business after a hefty debt load, stemming from a private equity buyout, and heavy online competition led to its demise.
“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, Tru Kids CEO and interim co-CEO of the joint venture. “We have an incredible opportunity to entirely reimagine the Toys ‘R’ Us brand in the U.S.”
FN’s “Women Who Rock” event hosted designers Tory Burch and Tabitha Simmons, who spoke about confidence, career and motherhood.
How Sears and Toys ‘R’ Us Illustrate the True Winners and Losers in Corporate Bankruptcies
The Death of Toys ‘R’ Us: What Other Retailers Need to Learn Now