Don’t count Geoffrey the Giraffe out just yet.
A new report in Bloomberg says Toys “R” Us is making plans to come back this holiday season with a new website and half a dozen stores across the country.
You may recall that last year, Toys “R” Us kids (and kids at heart) suffered a loss after the toy chain announced it was declaring bankruptcy and would be shuttering about 800 stores within the United States. A months-long legal battle ensued with the approximately 30,000 former employees who were laid off in the summer of 2018 without any severance or benefits, resulting in a $20-million severance fund that was approved in November.
The original plan was for the company to hold a bankruptcy auction for everything—including the brand name and intellectual property assets—but the auction was canceled last minute as debtors chose to keep global licensing rights (there are still stores open in other countries) and one day try to relaunch in the U.S. Now, according to Bloomberg, those plans are going into action.
Former Toys “R” Us executive and current Tru Kids Inc. CEO Richard Barry has reportedly been pitching the idea to reopen several stores at key locations across the U.S., as part of an overall rebranding and repackaging of the toy retailer. The stores would be smaller than the original big box ones, prioritizing “experiences” like play areas, and would be joined by a website selling its goods.
A spokesperson for Tru Kids declined to comment about the situation to Bloomberg, saying the company wasn’t ready to share its U.S. plans yet. But if they do move forward with opening new stores, the biggest question is: Why now? The article says it’s because executives thought reviving the brand was a better idea than selling off the assets...a decision could be partially inspired by the impassioned reaction from fans when the stores closed in the first place.
There is still some uncertainty, of course. Not only does Tru Kids have to convince investors that Toys “R” Us stores should come back in the first place, but they also have to get toy manufacturers onboard...which not all of them may be. If the plan is successful, we could see several new toy stores across the country, just in time for the holiday season.
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