Now there’s a new generation of Toys R Us kids. The former toy giant is back with brick-and-mortar stores, focusing on an unexpected industry.
In 2017 Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy, and by March 2018, they closed all 740 stores. After being 5 Billion dollars in debt, the toy store giant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 bankruptcy means a business can reopen after reorganization if it satisfies certain legal requirements.
In the winter of 2021, Toys R Us opened a 20,000-square-foot store inside the New Jersey Dream Mall, complete with a slide and ice cream parlor, reminiscent of its Flagship store in Times Square, which boasted a Ferris wheel and had closed for good in December of 2015. Additionally, Toys R Us partnered with Macy’s, and 452 Macy’s stores featured the beloved mascot, Geoffry Giraffe, and carried select Toys R Us toys, games, and products. However, with the decline of the department store, this wasn’t the triumphant return some consumers had hoped for.
But now, Toys R Us Stores are making another comeback, this time focusing on locations inside airports and cruise ships. The air, land, and sea expansion will include 24 flagship stores as well as opening in airports and on cruise lines. The cruise ship stores will focus on selling niche cruise ship-themed merchandise along with some regular Toys R Us fare. However, which cruise lines Toys R Us has partnered with have yet to be revealed.
The first airport store will open in November at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport through a partnership with Duty-Free Americas, in time for the 2023 holiday season (and great for travelers who want to pick up last-minute holiday presents or are in desperate need of keeping young travelers entertained.) The DFW location will feature a life-sized 3D sculpture of Geoffery Giraffe, a selection of toys and games from popular brands (it’s a toy store after all), demonstration tables for hands-on play, and iconic brand elements throughout the space.
Yehuda Shidman, Chairman and CEO of Toys R Us’s parent company, WHP, said that since the company had acquired the toy store, it increased its global retail footprint by more than 50% with more than 1,400 stores and e-commerce sites across 31 countries.
Additionally, Toys R Us will open 24 standalone stores. The new flagship stores will “open in prime locations” that complement the existing retail footprint at Macy’s, however, where exactly the rest of the stores will open and what they will feature has yet to be specified. The flagship stores will open in a new deal with Go! Retail groups are set to open before or during the 2024 holiday season.
I guess this new generation doesn’t have to grow up, they can still be Toy’s R Us kids.