About a year after shuttering U.S. operations, the remnant of the defunct toy chain is set to return this holiday season by opening about a half dozen U.S. stores and an e-commerce site, according to people familiar with the matter.
Richard Barry, a former Toys “R” Us executive who is now CEO of new entity Tru Kids Inc., has been pitching his vision to reincarnate the chain to toymakers, including at an industry conference this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public.
The stores are slated to be about 10,000-square feet, roughly a third of the size of the brand’s big-box outlets that closed last year, the people said. The locations will also have more experiences, like play areas. The startup costs could be minimized with a consignment inventory model in which toymakers ship goods but don’t get paid until consumers buy them, some of the people said.
A spokeswoman for Tru Kids said the company wasn’t ready to publicly share details on its U.S. strategy.
It remains to be seen how much of a boost the retailer’s comeback will provide the toy industry, including giants such as Hasbro Inc. and Mattel Inc. The original Toys “R” Us, the only national toy chain, left a huge hole when it went under. It had been generating about $7 billion in sales a year in the U.S. through more than 700 locations, including the Babies “R” Us brand.Walmart Inc., Target Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. have swooped in to fill the void. They have all expanded toy assortments and marketing, including a printed toy catalog from Amazon. Other non-traditional chains jumped into the category, including grocery stores and Party City Holdco Inc.