Toys R Us emerges from ashes as Tru Kids Brands

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Toys R Us
// Tru Kids emerges as new parent company of Toys R Us
// Led by Toys R Us veteran Richard Barry and headquartered in New Jersey
// Tru Kids confirms plans to open stores and ecommerce platforms around the world

Toys R Us is making a comeback as a brand new company known as Tru Kids Brands, one year after the toy retailer went bust.

Last month, Tru Kids Inc — the holding company for Tru Kids Brands — became the new parent company of Toys R Us, Babies R Us, and business mascot Geoffrey the giraffe after it acquired its still-valuable assets. It also took over more than 20 other established toy and baby brands.

The news comes after a revival attempt in October failed to crystallise.

A statement from Tru Kids said it acquired Toys R Us because of its “brand power” and “loyalty”.

It also highlighted how the Toys R Us and Babies R Us lines “generated over $3 billion in global retail sales in 2018 through more than 900 stores and ecommerce businesses”.

However, there is little detail as to what capacity the retailer could comeback in the UK.

Richard Barry – who previously worked at Toys R Us for 33 years, rising to the rank of global chief merchandising officer – was named as Tru Kids’ chief executive and president.

He will be supported by chief financial officer Matthew Finigan, executive vice-president of  global licence management and general counsel James Young, and senior vice-president of global sourcing and brands Jean-Daniel Gatignol.

Meanwhile, brand management veteran Yehuda Shmidman will serve as vice chairman to advise on global strategy and execution.

Barry said the newly-formed Tru Kids was seizing the opportunity to tap into the continued strong affinity for the Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands.

“As we start the year there is a lot to be excited about,” he said.

“We have a healthy and growing global business with great partners that are 100 per cent focused on opening more stores and ecommerce channels in their respective markets.

“We have an experienced team with unmatched industry expertise in the toy and baby space and a clear understanding post-holiday of the opportunity that still exists in the US marketplace.”

Tru Kids said its first priority would be to “solidify” the US retail strategy for Toys R Us and Babies R Us.

“While I can’t say today what that exact strategy is, we do know that we will have an omnichannel approach that is tech immersive and experiential with a smaller footprint,” Barry said.

“I’ve spent my entire adult career working at Toys R Us and feel proud to be a part of ensuring the next chapter of this iconic brands lives on.”

Tru Kids said it was working with partners around the world expand the Toys R Us and Babies R Us businesses in their respective markets while seeking opportunities to bring the brands to new and emerging territories.

While these global partners are set to open 70 stores in 2019 in Asia, India and Europe and develop new ecommerce platforms, details are scant on whether the plans for Europe also includes the UK.

Tru Kids will be headquartered in New Jersey, just as Toys R Us originally was.

Toys R Us’ UK arm collapsed around the same time as its US counterpart did in early 2018, making it one of the biggest victims of the challenging conditions plaguing the retail industry in recent years.

More than 3000 jobs were lost as over 100 Toys R Us stores across the UK shut down.

The casualties were worse in the US – 30,000 people lost their jobs across 885 stores.

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