TOYS R US UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP, EYEING U.S. COMEBACK
Toys R Us is looking to mount another comeback. The retail chain is planning to open stores in North America again under the new ownership of WHP Global, a New York-based brand management company.
WHP announced Monday in a press release that it has acquired a controlling interest in Tru Kids, the parent company of Toys R Us, Babies R Us, and Geoffrey the Giraffe brands, J. Kim Murphy reported for IGN.
"We're in the brand business, and Toys R Us is the single most credible, trusted and beloved toy brand in the world," WHP chairman and CEO Yehuda Shmidman said. "We're coming off a year where toys are just on fire... and for Toys R Us, the U.S. is really a blank canvas."
Shmidman laid out a plan for Toys R Us stores to reopen in North America sometime ahead of this coming holiday season. These locations could take the form of flagships, pop-ups, airport shops, or mini-stores within other retailers, according to the company's early plans.
Toys R Us originally closed its 700 final stores in North America in June 2018, nine months after the retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Though their presence has diminished domestically, Toys R Us and Babies R Us together still have over 900 branded stores across 25 countries worldwide. WHP claims that the Toys R Us brand generates more than $2 billion in retail sales.
Since the retailer's original closures, Tru Kids has attempted to revitalize the Toys R Us brand.
The company launched two pop-up Toys R Us locations in Houston, TX, and Paramus, NJ during the holiday season in 2019.
These stores were intended to reinvent the retailer's brand, offering more open floor space to allow consumers to test products hands-on. Both locations shuttered as a result of bad foot traffic, a problem that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.