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Why Toys “R” Us Chose One of America’s Biggest Malls For Its Flagship Store

Toys “R” Us is coming back.

WHP Global, the toy retailer’s parent company, is opening a new flagship store inside the American Dream mall in Bergen County, New Jersey. Slated to open this weekend, the two-story 20,000-square-foot store will mark the first physical Toys “R” Us store to open since before the pandemic.

“We could have opened Toys “R” Us anywhere in the country, but we intentionally chose American Dream because of its unrivaled entertainment value.” said Yehuda Shmidman, WHP Global and Toys “R” Us chairman and CEO, in an interview with FN. “It’s very intentional. And we’re excited to be here.”

Toys R Us American Dream
Inside the Toys “R” Us flagship store in American Dream
CREDIT: Shoshy Ciment/Footwear News

The news comes shortly after Macy’s announced it would sell products from Toys “R” Us in more than 400 stores and online through a partnership with WHP Global, the brand management company that acquired a controlling interest in Tru Kids in March. After Toys ‘R’ Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2017, Tru Kids bought the company’s brands and intellectual property. 

“Think of this as our marquee flagship inside an entertainment bonanza,” Shmidman said of the new store. “And then you’re going to be able to nationally experience our brand, both in Macy’s stores and on macys.com.”

Under Tru Brands, Toys “R” Us opened up two physical locations in 2019 via a partnership with experiential retail tech start-up b8ta. The stores — located in the Galleria mall in Houston and in the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. — were ultimately closed due to the pandemic.

In 2019, Target partnered with Tru Brands to power the toy retailer’s digital and fulfillment services. At the time, those who shopped on ToysRUs.com would be redirected to Target.com to make a purchase. In August of 2020, Tru Brands switched over to Amazon.

Toys “R” Us products are already available online at Macy.com, with shop-in-shops-slated to open in 2022.

The new flagship store has toys from brands like Barbie and Lego, an in-store cafe, and a slide between the first and second floor. According to American Dream developer Paul Ghermezian, having the flagship toy store at American Dream will be another driver of traffic among the entertainment center’s many different experiences.

“The experience has to express culture and entertainment and give you something that you can’t get anywhere else, that this is where you want to be,” Ghermezian told FN. “[Toys “R” Us] has the same vision, which is why they chose to come here.”

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