Don't call it a comeback. With the holiday season just around the corner, Toys R Us is re-launching its website with a little help from Target, who announced it's partnering with the parent company of the Toys R Us brand, TRU KIDS. The deal will allow Toys R Us to regain its online presence, post bankruptcy, as it simultaneously begins to open brick and mortar stores in the U.S. again.
Starting Tuesday, shoppers who visit ToysRUs.com will be directed to Target.com to complete their purchase once they select "buy." It's unclear how much of each sale will go to Target versus TRU KIDS.
TRU KIDS CEO Richard Barry, who previously worked as chief merchandising officer at Toys R Us, said the company decided to tap Target as the power wheel of the website because of its already impressive toy business, its strong supply chain and clear "understanding of the [toy] category."
Explore the ultimate online toy experience at https://t.co/uGZMjODwAV featuring hot toy reviews, the latest trends and unique content for kids of all ages! To power your shopping experience we've partnered with @Target so you can check out with confidence and ease. pic.twitter.com/EdSp8iSGkz— ToysRUs (@ToysRUs) October 8, 2019
"We spoke to a lot of different folks as we went through this process," Barry said, according to CNBC. "What inspired me about Target was their investment in the category."
Barry said that the new site will be for a lot more than just making purchases, adding that TRU KIDS hopes ToysRUs.com will become a resource for parents looking for the latest toys to buy as well as an educational tool for kids chock-full of videos, top toy lists and product reviews.
"We have completely reimagined [the website] ... to a site which is immersive and heavily content oriented," Barry said. "One of the things we have been working on with the initial launch is to make the site very relevant for consumers this holiday season ... with a big focus on the products we think will be magic this year."
For Target, the new deal expands on its recent investments in the toy category. Ahead of last holiday season, the Minnesota-based retailer added a quarter-million square feet of space permanently dedicated to toys across more than 500 stores, with about 100 stores receiving a full remodeling in the toy aisles. Target reported same-store sales were up 5.7 percent in its 2018 holiday results, with the toy category being one of its strongest.
More recently, Target announced a deal in August with Disney to open Disney stores within its own stores, exclusively selling toys, apparel and accessories. Twenty-five of those shops opened Friday, with dozens planned for the next year.
Ready to play? We're SO excited to announce our partnership with b8ta to bring back Toys"R"Us! A reimagined, playful, just-gotta-see-it experience is on the way. Visit https://t.co/uGZMjODwAV to learn more about our bold step, skip and hop towards a #newwaytoplay! pic.twitter.com/w7sn2inOIU— ToysRUs (@ToysRUs) July 18, 2019
The deal with Target is just the latest for TRU KIDS, which has made a handful of partnerships as of late, including a joint venture with software retailer b8ta, which will open two permanent stores next month — at The Galleria mall in Houston, Texas, and at Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey.
The company also announced a partnership with Candytopia, who is known for its interactive candy exhibits, as part of its efforts to revive and evolve the toy store. Ahead of the holiday season, it will open Toys R Us Adventure, "an immersive wonderland that celebrates the whimsical, silly and fun of toys," in Atlanta and Chicago.
Heads way up, because the #ToysrusAdventure is rolling out in a BIG way! Brought to you by @ToysRUs & @thecandytopia. It’s an interactive fun-for-all with rooms of outrageously wacky play, fairy tales & of course, toys! Sign up for early ticket access at https://t.co/JBMoqN5wY4 pic.twitter.com/A4LMHTNHpY— toysrusadventure (@thetoyadventure) September 19, 2019
Toys R Us liquidated last year, shuttering 800 U.S. stores. Under its new ownership, 10 stores are expected to open in the U.S. in 2020. Target said it will also power the online sales in those stores, should employees have to order any items that are out of stock.
Photo credit: Leon Neal / Staff / Getty