The last Toys R Us store closed in June of 2018 after the company went through bankruptcy and liquidation. Viral memes went out of Geoffrey the Giraffe looking for a new job, but the defunct company maintained that their story wasn’t over yet. They seem to have been right.
In October 2019, two “immersive toy wonderlands” were opened in Chicago and Atlanta, called Toys R Us Adventure, and the new ToysRUs.com website was launched. But the Adventures were just pop-up play places, and all shopping links on the website redirect to Target.com. Once rivals, the two retail companies are now partners.
Those two steps were most likely to build hype for what happened on Wednesday, November 27. The first new Toys R Us store opened in a mall in Paramus, New Jersey, as a small retail shop. Its grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, November 30, immediately after Black Friday.
Legally, new Toys R Us is a separate company called Tru Kids Brands, run by former Toys R Us executives. The new CEO, Richard Barry, was the global chief merchandising officer of the original Toys R Us. He wants to do all he can to link Toys R Us and Tru Kids Brands in shoppers’ minds, keeping branding consistent while scaling expenses back as far as he can.
“These stores are fundamentally different from the Toys R Us stores that you’ll remember from the past,” said Barry. “They are smaller, very immersive, experimental as well.”
“This is really a dream come true in the fact that [with Toys R Us Adventure] we’re able to take these toy and play experiences and bring them to live that we’ve never been able to do in the past,” Barry added when discussing the sites that feature giant toys.
He hopes to open half a dozen of the new stores before Christmas 2019, and offer former Toys R Us employees first dibs at the new jobs.
Photo by 360b / Shutterstock.com