Will Toys R Us Come Back From the Dead This Holiday Season?

It has been about a year since Toys ‘R’ Us started shutting down its US operations but people close to the company have revealed that the nearly defunct toy chain is looking to make a triumphant return this coming holiday season.  The opening of a handful of stores and an e-commerce site will lead the charge. 

Apparently, former Toys ‘R’ Us global chief merchandising officer Richard Barry has been pitching a new vision of the chain. These stores, according to this reincarnation idea, could be around 10,000 square feet in size, which is roughly one-third of the size of their big-box outlets that shuttered their doors last year.  But the smaller size will also house fewer toys, replacing some aisles of shelving with more momentary experiences like play areas. 

Having transitioned to CEO of a new company called Tru Kids Inc, Barry announced this vision at an industry conference this week. In a press release published all the way back in February, Tru Kids Brands said “Effective January 20, 2019, the new company, Tru Kids Inc. doing business as Tru Kids Brands, became the proud parent of Toys ‘R’ Us, Babies ‘R’ Us, Geoffrey, and more than 20 established consumer toy and baby brands.”

Starting a new company is not easy, of course, but Barry says that startup costs for this venture could be minimized by using a consignment inventory model. This concept involves toymakers shipping goods but not getting paid until a customer buys the items.  

Barry goes on to say that even though other retailers have made remarkable effort to capture the share in the market the franchise left with its closures, a significant gap and massive consumer demand remains in the void. And this new company, then, will be headed up with Barry and other experienced toy industry executives. 

He adds, “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write the next chapter of Toys ‘R’ Us by launching a newly imagined omnichannel retail experience for our beloved brands here in the US.”

Indeed, the likes of Walmart and Target have tried to step into the void in the traditional retail space, with Amazon also expanding toy offerings, so this new concept will definitely have some competition. Time will tell, then, if Barry can manage this reincarnation.