Roughly a year after shuttering operations in the United States, Toys "R" Us is planning a major comeback. The chain, once the largest retailer of toys in the U.S., is set to return in time for the Christmas season in 2019.
It won't be back to business as usual for Toys "R" Us, though. Bloomberg reported that the retailer will return with fewer than 10 stores, each of which will be roughly a third the size of the Toys "R" Us stores shoppers are used to. Sources told the outlet TRU Kids, the company created after the downfall of Toys "R" Us, has finally settled on a path forward.
Stores will be about 10,000 square feet in total, with additional "experiences" including play areas. TRU Kids hopes this will make stores more of a destination than a quick stop along the way. Bloomberg reported that a TRU spokesperson said the company isn't ready to share details on the relaunch just yet.
This process has been in the works since early 2019, according to Mashable. CEO Richard Barry said that a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write the next chapter of Toys 'R' Us" presented itself in February.
TRU Kids will operate online, too, just like Toys "R" Us did. Products will be available at ToysRUs.com, which the company hopes will help generate additional revenue. The company plans to help keep costs low by taking products on consignment from producers, paying only once goods have left the store. By doing this, though, Toys "R" Us runs the risk of finding itself on the hook for product that doesn't actually exist.
That's not the only challenge Toys "R" Us will face when the relaunch finally happens. The company will have to re-establish itself with retailers, and build relationships with others. Former Toys "R" Us CEO Isaac Larian told Bloomberg it's already got the backing of MGA Entertainment, which makes popular toys like Little Tikes, Bratz and L.O.L. Surprise!
"This market needs a self-standing toy story, that's for sure," Larian said. "We will sell them inventory."
It's unclear if companies like Hasbro Inc. and Mattel Inc. will sell their products through Toys "R" Us once it returns.
Toys "R" Us initially closed after landing in financial trouble for ownership. The company was unable to get back in the black. Company executives looked into licensing Toys "R" Us, but ultimately decided relaunching was the better way forward. The company is hopeful the relaunch is more lucrative than licensing to a competitor would have been.