When Toys “R” Us was liquidated in 2018, generations of kids, including a lot of grown-up ones, felt melancholy nostalgia for the store that had been a part of their childhood. Trips there felt special, and just looking at the logo is likely to make one burst into song. (“I don’t wanna grow up/I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid!) But good news, Toys “R” Us Kids! After shuttering its two remaining U.S. stores earlier this year, Toys “R” Us is coming back, thanks to a new partnership with Macy’s.
Starting Aug. 19, shoppers can purchase Toys “R” Us toys online at Macys.com/toysrus and Toysrus.com. What’s more, an in-store experience will be available in approximately 400 Macy’s locations starting 2022, though the specific sites have yet to be announced. Customers will be welcomed by lovable mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, and will be able to shop and play in interactive sections divided by age, interest.
“As a Toys “R” Us kid, I could not be more excited to bring this beloved brand that so many of our customers know and love into Macy’s online and to our stores across America,” chief merchandising officer for Macy’s, Nata Dvir, said in a press release. “Our toy business grew exponentially in the past year ... and our partnership allows Macy’s to significantly expand our footprint in that category, while creating more occasions for customers to shop with us across their lifestyles.”
Indeed, 2020 was a red letter year for toy sellers. With the pandemic shifting family spending to prioritize at-home entertainment, toy sales increased by 16% from 2019 for a total of $25.1 billion, according to research from The NPD Group. NPD also found that growth has continued into the first half of 2021, when toy sales were up 15% from the same period in 2020.
During Macy's quarterly earnings call last week, company Chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette said that the incorporation of Toys “R” Us in Macy’s locations was part of a strategy not only to attract younger customers, but to retain customer loyalty among Millennial parents (and moms in particular), who usually do shopping for the whole family throughout the year. At the quarterly earnings call in May of this year, he said the company was “hyper-focused” on marketing to Millennial parents in regard to toys, so it makes sense to partner with a brand so beloved by consumers born between 1980 and 1996.
And, for that added zhuzh of nostalgia, he also announced that Toys “R” Us would also have a presence in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.