Several former Toys R Us executives are planning to launch a new company called Tru Kids as a comeback for the toy retailer that filed for bankruptcy in late 2017, according to Business Insider.
Some of its lenders had taken control of its brand names and other intellectual property and Tru Kids now manages those brands, the publication reported.
Geoffrey, the well-known mascot for Toys R Us made an appearance in the form of Geoffrey’s Toy Box this past holiday season which featured a collection of brands at pop-up stores in nearly 600 Kroger grocery stores.
Toys R Us announced the closure of its more than 800 U.S stores in 2018 while trying to work out a plan to save at least 200 of them from going dark if it couldn’t find a buyer. It made plans to liquidate 180 stores under both Toys R Us and Babies R Us banners as part of the restructuring process.
“Over the course of the past decade, we’ve witnessed the impact ecommerce has had on traditional brick-and-mortar companies, which has pushed many to transform their business models and digital capabilities,” said James Gagliardi, Chief Product Officer for Digital River. “In the case of Toys R Us, they fell at the mercy of industry giants like Amazon who have mastered the art of online selling. Though the behemoth has cemented its place in the retail industry, there’s still room for Toys R Us and brands alike to take a piece of the online market, but they have to take a different approach.”
Gagliardi said top sellers like Amazon and Walmart have an abundance of goods available on their platforms but aren’t taking the time to woo products in any particular fashion. Whereas the Big Two focus exclusively on conveniences and price, specialty retailers and brands have an opportunity to compete on experience.
“Keeping this in mind, companies like Toy R Us have a chance to step in and provide the alliance many brands like Hasbro and Mattel are seeking,” said Gagliardi. “There’s ample opportunity to become an advocate for new products, partner with brands to bring unique online and offline experiences to market, and even help preserve margins for their partners.”
Gagliardi said whatever Toys R Us decides is the right direction for their company, they must know they’ll have to think and execute different from the Big Two sellers.
“In addition, due to the overflow of choice and emphasis on personalization, shoppers feel more empowered than ever,” said Gagliardi. “Their shifting expectations have direct impact on brands, of course. If Toys R Us is able to grasp that idea and model itself to aid brands, it’ll carve out a niche for itself in this active retail scene.”
Plans for the new reincarnated company are still in the works, but it could open standalone stores, pop-up locations or partnerships where Toys R Us private label items and branding appear at other retailers, according to Business Insider.
The new company aims to bring better technology and in-store experiences in an effort to combat the struggles Toys R Us had before it closed.
MCM Musings: As I was writing this article I thought, should Toys R Us even bother to come back? Are these executives beating a dead horse? In the short time they’ve been gone retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target and others have stepped up their toy game to fill the kiddy void. By now, Geoffrey might have fallen behind in the race to win the hearts of children. The same thought came to mind with Sears, as former Chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert won his bid in the bankruptcy court allowing Sears to see another day, – but I thought, is this worth it? Can Sears mount a comeback? Ecommerce has killed toy retailers, and put a hurt on mall-based merchants across categories. Can either/both iconic retailers regain the attention and wallets of today’s demanding consumers? Time will tell.