Reports of the death of toy chain Toys ‘R’ Us may have been premature. Back in March, the company reported that all 800 Toys ‘R’ Us locations in the United States would close. And by the end of June, it was pretty much a reality. But you can’t keep a good giraffe down. On Tuesday, news broke that instead of auctioning off its intellectual property, Toys ‘R’ Us is considering a plan that “…contemplates a new, operating Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us branding company…”
In short, the money Toys ‘R’ Us could potential make by auctioning off its trademarks (like Geoffrey the Giraffe) doesn’t appear to be enough to justify parting with the brand entirely. Toys ‘R’ Us is now hoping that the best way to cut its loses is to try a consolidated approach with retail brick-and-mortar stores. What that possible new retail approach looks like is anybody’s guess. Smaller stores? More specialization? Customization by region? No one knows.
This isn’t the first time Toys ‘R’ Us has hinted at a comeback. Back in June, the company’s official Facebook page posted an image of Geoffrey the Giraffe holding a suitcase with the caption: “Just going on a little vacation is all… #TRUBeContinued.” The post and photo have since been deleted. In fairness, if Toys ‘R’ Us is going to return, they’ll need to rethink their superstore aesthetic for the contemporary climate. Old school Toys ‘R’ Us might give us all great feelings of nostalgia, but it’s important to remember how chaotic they were, too.
The essential difference between the hint in June and what’s happening now is striking though. Essentially, Toys ‘R’ Us is withdrawing from bankruptcy with the hopes of jumpstarting its business again. Right now, no one knows what that future will look like, or how the brand will re-present itself to the public, but there’s a good bet that no matter what they come up with, that famous giraffe will be front and center.