Parents and consumers left devastated by news of Toys "R" Us closing its doors in June 2018 are in for a treat. That's because Toys "R" Us is relaunching under a new name, according to CNBC, and the beloved brand is expected to remerge just in time for the 2019 holiday season.
News of Toys "R" Us closing up shop first surfaced in September 2017, after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to Forbes. The company then pulled the plug on 182 store locations in January 2018, followed by an additional 200 in February 2018, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The closures led many to speculate that the end was near, and those fears were confirmed in March 2018 when the longtime toy store chain announced its plans to liquidate its U.S. business, according to CNBC. By June 2018, Toys "R" Us had officially called it quits.
The saga is difficult for many consumers to relive, especially since the brand had been a mainstay since 1957. But there is some good news: former Toys "R" Us executive Richard Barry plans to relaunch the brand as Tru Kids, according to CNBC.
"Tru Kids is the new parent company of Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us and also owns the rights to Geoffrey and dozens of Toys 'R' Us original toy brands," Forbes writer Blake Morgan reported on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Execs are reportedly considering brick and mortar stores spanning 10,000 square feet, a reduced size from its original 40,000 square feet, and there is talk of placing shops within existing stores. Barry also stressed the company's focus on e-commerce, in-store experiences, and customer service, according to Fox 59.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write the next chapter of Toys ‘R’ Us by launching a newly imagined omnichannel retail experience for our beloved brands here in the U.S.,” Barry, the former global chief merchandising officer at Toys "R" Us, said in a press release. “In addition, our strong global footprint is led by experienced and passionate operating teams that are 100% focused on growth.”
So, how will this rebrand play out? "Tru Kids plans to open 70 stores this year in Asia, Europe and India," Morgan reported for Forbes. "It will also have a domestic plan for the U.S. and place a large emphasis on growing the brand in the United States."
If all goes according to plan, the brand will make a comeback around the 2019 holiday season. It's not yet clear, however, how this will revamp will roll out. From pop-up shops to a few stand-alone stores, there are a lot of options for Barry and his team of former Toys "R" Us execs to consider. In fact, Barry is open to partnering with online retailer Amazon if the opportunity arises, telling CNBC that he will "not take anything off the table at all."
Whether Tru Kids will be a success remains to be seen, but this rebrand is likely to give Toys "R" Us' loyal fans hope for its future.