Toys”R”Us parent company Tru Kids announced that two brand new stores would be opening in the U.S. this holiday season. The company will partner with experiential retailer b8ta to design a completely new kind of store, much smaller and more focused than the previous Toys”R”Us locations.
The two stores are set to open in The Galleria in Houston, Texas and Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. The new format stores are being called “highly immersive” and will focus as much on the experience as the toys being sold.
“With a 70 year heritage, the Toys“R”Us brand is beloved by kids and families around the world, and continues to play a leading role in the hearts and minds of today’s consumers,” said Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids and Interim co-CEO of the new Toys“R”Us joint venture. “We have an incredible opportunity to entirely reimagine the Toys“R”Us brand in the U.S. and are thrilled to partner with b8ta and key toy vendors to create a new, highly-engaging retail experience designed for kids, families and to better fit within today’s retail environment.”
Various toys at this new locations will be presented out of the box for kids to actually see and test, and there will be an open playspace where children can interact with Geoffrey the Giraffe, the brand’s icon.
“As a kid, my memory of Toys“R”Us was running up and down the aisles kicking balls and playing with the coolest toys,” said Phillip Raub, co-founder and president of b8ta and Interim co-CEO of the Toys“R”Us joint venture. “As the retail landscape changes, so do consumer shopping habits. But what hasn’t changed is that kids want to touch everything and simply play. In partnership with Richard and his team, we are excited to bring back Toys“R”Us in an immersive way, focused on creating a fun and engaging experience for kids—and adults, too.”
“We launched b8ta to change the fundamental infrastructure of retail, from the business model to the customer experience. b8ta is proud to bring Toys“R”Us stores back to the U.S. alongside our partner, Tru Kids, and with our Retail as a Service platform as its engine,” said Vibhu Norby, CEO of b8ta. “The new Toys“R”Us stores will be the most progressive and advanced stores in its category in the world, and we hope to surprise and delight kids for generations to come.”
There are plans to open additional locations over the course of 2020, but only those first two stores will launch in 2019.