The new owner of the Toys R Us brand will open scores of new stores this year, but only two in the United States, where the former owner declared bankruptcy in 2017.
Several former executives of Toys R Us founded Parsippany, New Jersey-based Tru Kids Brands in January, and it now manages the Toys R Us, Babies R Us and Geoffrey brands.
Toys R Us liquidated its U.S. business after its 2017 bankruptcy filing, leaving behind millions of dollars of unpaid debts. Vendors with valid claims recovered roughly 20 cents on the dollar.
But outside the United States, about 800 stores still operate under the Toys R Us brand. Tru Kids is working with partners on licensing deals to open approximately 70 new Toys R Us stores this year in Asia, Europe and India.
This year’s re-launch of Toys R Us in the United States will be limited to two 10,000-square-foot store stores in Houston and Paramus, New Jersey, according to the Associated Press. Future U.S. locations will be about the same size, Tru Kids CEO Richard Barry said.
Both new U.S. stores would have fit comfortably inside Toys R Us’ old big-box locations, which spanned about 30,000 square feet.
Tru Kids formed a partnership with a startup company called b8Ta to initiate what Barry described as a consignment model for store operations, under which toy manufacturers would pay for store space and collect all sales there. [Associated Press] – Mike Seemuth