The Toys ‘R’ Us comeback is officially on, but don’t expect the new stores to be anything like the ones you remember.
Tru Kids Brands, the company that now controls Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us, announced that it will be opening two new stores in time for the holiday season. In a joint venture with b8ta, a software-powered experiential retailer, the company is opening stores at The Galleria in Houston and the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey.
Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids, says the new effort will create “a new, highly-engaging retail experience designed for kids, families and to better fit within today’s retail environment.”
That means the new locations will be quite different from the 800 sprawling emporia that closed in the wake of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy the company entered nearly two years ago. They will be much smaller — 6,500 to 10,000 square feet instead of 40,000 — and full of mini shops run by to be announced toy brands instead of shelves on shelves on shelves.
The new stores will have interactive events and activities every day and include an open play space where Geoffrey the Giraffe himself will make appearances.
“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,” said Phillip Raub, co-founder and president of b8ta.
Raub’s company will collect data in the stores that Tru Kids Brands hopes will allow it to make smarter decisions as it seeks to rebuild relationships with toy brands burned by the store closings.
Tru Kids plans on opening ten more stores in the United States in 2020, one of which might be a flagship in New York or California, according to CNBC.
If they’re successful, we could be looking at an entirely new generation of Toys ‘R’ Us kids.