I, like many other millennials, was deeply saddened by the bankruptcy and closure of toy store chain Toys R Us back in 2017. I don’t have kids, so I don’t really know what kids want out of toys or toy stores these days, but in my youth, Toys R Us was a multicolored plastic wonderland to be perused on truly special occasions. Since the chain went under, its parent company, Tru Kids, has tried a couple of times to revive the brand in the form of smaller pop up stores, but to no avail. Perhaps it’s time for someone new to take Geoffrey’s reins.
Brand management company WHP Global announced today that they have purchased a controlling stake in Tru Kids, and their interested in trying to make that Toys R Us magic happen one more time.
“We’re in the brand business, and Toys R Us is the single most credible, trusted and beloved toy brand in the world,” Yehuda Shmidman, chairman and chief executive officer of WHP, said in an interview. “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.”
Toys R Us has a new owner that’s planning to open stores again in the U.S. https://t.co/sGyy0IUaVb
— CNBC (@CNBC) March 15, 2021
Shmidman is actually the Vice Chair of Tru Kids, and has been since 2019. As such, he’s been present for most of the Toys R Us brand’s attempts at revival, including their brief partnerships with Target and Amazon, as well as their worsened turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The restructurings took a big toll on the company,” Shmidman said. “And then Covid is, hopefully, once in a century. But now we’re getting past those two things. And the sky’s the limit.”
Shmidman wants to begin reopening Toys R Us locations around the United States, preferably before the 2021 holiday season. In lieu of starting with the chain’s trademark big box locations, they’re opting instead for a scattershot approach with pop-ups, airport stores, and mini-locations within other retailers, with major flagship locations to come later.