The first two new Toys R Us stores will open this November in Texas and New Jersey, acting as pilot stores for Tru Kids’ future vision of the once dominant toy giant.
Small-format stores will focus on shopping as an experience, with a pared down, curated offering of toys in stark contrast to the warehouse-style Toys R Us stores of old.
Both new stores will be located within shopping malls: The Galleria in Houston, Texas, a Simon Mall, and in Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey.
Tru Kids, which owns and manages the Toys R Us brand and its mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, has entered into a joint venture with b8ta, a tech-focused experiential retailer, to design and launch the stores.
The plan is to tap b8ta’s Retail as a Service platform, which enables brands to actively manage their presence in-store and capture data on how those experiences translate into sales.
By partnering directly with toy brands, Tru Kids aims to create “an interactive, playground-like environment, creating an entirely new retail experience centered around product discovery and engagement”.
“We have an incredible opportunity to entirely reimagine the Toys"R"Us brand in the US and are thrilled to partner with b8ta and key toy vendors to create a new, highly-engaging retail experience designed for kids, families and to better fit within today's retail environment," says Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids, who will also act as Interim co-CEO of the joint venture alongside b8ta founder Phillip Raub.
"As a kid, my memory of Toys"R"Us was running up and down the aisles kicking balls and playing with the coolest toys,"adds Phillip. "As the retail landscape changes, so do consumer shopping habits. But what hasn't changed is that kids want to touch everything and simply play.
“In partnership with Richard and his team, we are excited to bring back Toys"R"Us in an immersive way, focused on creating a fun and engaging experience for kids—and adults, too."
The companies plan to open additional locations in prime, high-traffic retail markets within the US over the course of 2020.