Toys “R” Us stores are coming back this year.
Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids Brands and former global chief merchandising officer at Toys “R” Us, plans to open at least two Toys “R” Us stores this year, according to a person familiar with Barry’s plans.
Tru Kids Brands’ owners won the rights to the Toys “R” Us brand last October. They also took over the former company’s other assets and brands including Babies “R” Us, Geoffrey the Giraffe, and Imaginarium.
“We’re definitely coming back in 2019. At minimum two stores. There’s more planned for 2020,” the person said. The new stores will be smaller than Toys “R” Us’ old stores and “experiential,” the person added.
“We have significant interest about how to bring the brand back to the US,” Barry told CNN Business earlier this year. “We’re working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to bring it to life.”
Barry pitched his plans for Toys “R” Us at a recent conference in Las Vegas, said Isaac Larian, the billionaire toy executive behind Bratz dolls and Little Tikes toys.
“They’re considering opening two stores to begin with and then go from there. I hope they’re successful,” he said. “There is a need for an independent toy chain in the US, whether it’s Toys ‘R’ Us or something else.”
Larian tried to buy roughly 300 Toys “R” Us locations in the United States and Canada last year. Toys “R” Us rejected that offer.
Tru Kids Brands has dabbled in the United States since it won the rights to Toys “R” Us in October. The company teamed with US grocer Kroger to set up “Geoffrey’s Toy Box” sections in 600 stores during the holidays. Thirty-five toys were part of the promotion, which featured the iconic Toys “R” Us giraffe mascot.
More than 700 American Toys “R” US stores closed last year. But the company kept 900 stores open in Europe, Asia and India. The new owners have plans to open another 70 stores overseas — mostly in Asia — by the end of the year.