A reborn and reimagined Toys “R” Us has returned to the retail arena just in time for the holiday shopping season.
Tru Kids, which bought certain intellectual properties of Toys “R” Us after the chain filed for bankruptcy in 2018 and closed all its U.S. stores, has opened a Toys “R” Us store at Westfield Garden State Plaza, in Paramus, New Jersey. A second location, at The Galleria in Houston, will open on Dec. 7.
The reborn Toys “R” Us has a decidedly smaller and more interactive format than its previous model — the Paramus outpost is about 6,000 sq. ft. compared to a traditional Toys “R” Us, which averaged about 40,000 sq. ft. Upon entering, shoppers are greeted by a giant plush version of the toy seller’s longtime mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe. Other features include steps that are printed with the lyrics of Toys “R” Us’ iconic jingle, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, I’m A Toys “R” Us Kid.” The steps lead into a tree house (Geoffrey’s Tree House) or to a play area where a 3D virtual Geoffrey comes to life and mimics a visitor’s movement via a “magic” mirror. The store also includes an open event space that will host a rotating schedule of programmed events, including brand demonstrations, product launches, author visits, and character meets.
“Toys R Us is built into the fabric of childhood and for more than 70 years has been the most trusted source for toys and play,” said Richard Barry, president and CEO, Tru Kids, and former global chief merchandising officer at Toys “R” Us. “With the return of Toys “R” Us stores in the U.S., we are bringing a highly engaging, experience-driven retail destination that celebrates play and deepens the connection between the world’s best toy, play and entertainment brands and customers.”
As previously announced, experiential retailer and tech provider B8ta is partnering with Tru Kids on the new Toys “R” Us stores to lease out space to various toy brands. The store features some 40 brands, many featured in in-store shops, and has about 1,500 items. Interactive touchscreen displays are available throughout the store, allowing customers to browse and purchase a deeper assortment of product through Toys “R” Us’ newly launched website, which is powered by Target.
Here’s a look at several of the featured brands in the new Toys “R” Us.
• Hasbro will bring to life several of its popular brands, including an interactive Nerf anchor shop and a dedicated HasbroGames shop.
• Lego Group’s anchor shop features hands-on opportunities for fans of all ages to build at the interactive play table and snap a photo with life-size Lego models.
• Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite systems come to life as an anchor shop experience enabling kids and adults to enjoy a unique way to play. Hot holiday titles such as Pokémon Sword and Luigi’s Mansion 3 power interactive game demos on play tables and a big screen in the store.
• Spin Master is showcasing many of its toy brands including an anchor shop dedicated to the preschool fave Paw Patrol featuring an interactive 4’ tall lookout tower and an immersive, hands-on Kinetic Sand experience allowing kids to feel the fun and be mesmerized by “sandisfying” video content.