Toys R Us to Open New Stores in Time for Holiday Shopping
Toys R Us is rising from the ashes. Now Americans may not have to go another Christmas without its once beloved toy store.
The retailer is making a comeback in time for the 2019 holiday season with a new approach. Instead of providing mile-long aisles filled with a plethora of toys, the company is switching its focus to smaller stores that will feature interactive toy demonstrations, spaces for special events like birthday parties, new activities every day and open play areas.
The plan was announced Thursday after Tru Kids Brand, the parent of Toys R Us, entered a joint venture with the startup b8ta, which owns a chain of “experiential” stores. The retailer has relaunched its website, touting an experience “centered around product discovery and engagement.”
Although preferences and consumer shopping habits have changed over the years, “what hasn’t changed is that kids want to touch everything and simply “play,” said Phillip Raub, president of b8ta and interim co-CEO of the Toys R Us joint venture.
Consumers will have the opportunity to play with toys displayed out of the box before potentially purchasing them. The company believes that this immersive experience, for example, will help it track patterns and measure how in-store retail experiences effect online sales.
After officially closing its doors in nearly 200 locations in 2017, Toys R Us open the two new stores in The Galleria in Houston, Texas, and in the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J.
The stores will be nearly 6,500 square feet — roughly one third the size of its big-box stores.
The joint partnership plans to open 10 additional stores in “prime, high-traffic retail markets” within the U.S. throughout 2020. Future store locations are planned to be about 10,000 square feet.