Kids of all ages are about to be very happy, as Toys R Us is officially coming back from the dead. The beloved toy store that thrived in the age before online shopping became so prominent was forced into bankruptcy last year, resulting in more than 700 stores closing and more than 30,000 jobs being lost. But out of the ashes comes a newly revamped version of the retailer, which will be smaller, immersive and is billed as an experience.
The announcement was made by Tru Kids, the company that now controls the Toys R Us brand, who have announced a partnership with the software-powered experimental retailer b8ta. The two companies are set to open two new stores in the U.S. this holiday season. One at the Galleria mall in Houston, Texas and the other at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey. Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids and Interim co-CEO of Toys R Us, had this to say in a statement.
"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. We have an incredible opportunity to entirely reimagine the Toys"R"Us brand in the U.S. and are thrilled to partner with b8ta and key toy vendors to create a new, highly-engaging retail experience designed for kids, families and to better fit within today's retail environment."
These new stores will not feature aisle after aisle cluttered with every toy on the market. Instead, the companies intend to curate their selections carefully. They promise a "playground-like environment" that will be highly interactive with new events and activities daily. They're also inviting brands to design custom experiences and branded shops within these new stores. Phillip Raub, co-founder and president of b8ta and Interim co-CEO of the Toys R Us had this to say.
"As a kid, my memory of Toys"R"Us was running up and down the aisles kicking balls and playing with the coolest toys. As the retail landscape changes, so do consumer shopping habits. But what hasn't changed is that kids want to touch everything and simply play. In partnership with Richard and his team, 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."
The intention is to test the waters with these first two stores, and to open further locations throughout the U.S. in 2020. This may include a larger flagship store in either New York or California. The old stores were somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 square feet, whereas these new stores will be 6,500 to 10,000. One problem the company will face is getting brands to partner with them, as many brands lost money when Toys R Us was forced to liquidate following the bankruptcy filing. For more details and updates, head on over to ToysRUs.com.
Ready to play? We're SO excited to announce our partnership with b8ta to bring back Toys"R"Us! A reimagined, playful, just-gotta-see-it experience is on the way. Visit https://t.co/uGZMjODwAV to learn more about our bold step, skip and hop towards a #newwaytoplay! pic.twitter.com/w7sn2inOIU— ToysRUs (@ToysRUs) July 18, 2019