Toys 'R' Us execs. planning a comeback with new company

Guess what’s brewing at ye' old Toys ‘R’ Us roundtable?

If you’ll remember, megaretailer Toys ‘R’ Us was forced into liquidation last year after a particularly sour 2017 holiday season in the U.S. Some of the company’s biggest lenders, including an investment firm and an asset management company, eventually took over the company’s brand to recover losses.

Now, executives from the unlucky company are looking at ways of bringing the brand back from its bankruptcy.

The brand names of Toys ‘R’ Us, Babies ‘R’ Us and Geoffrey (the giraffe) have been, as of Jan. 20, managed by a company called Tru Kids. The former chief merchandising officer of Toys ‘R’ Us is now the president of Tru Kids.

The new company has its headquarters in New Jersey, 20 minutes from the former headquarters. New employees come from the bankrupt Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us, while president Richard Barry says the team is much tighter than “those employed by its predecessor”.

New vice chairman Yehuda Shmidman previously worked as CEO of Sequential Brands, a company responsible for labels like Martha Stewart Living and The Jessica Simpson Collection, according to CNBC.

The new company hasn’t set its business plan in stone as of yet, but is exploring stand-alone retail stores, pop-ups and partnership opportunities (like Amazon).

Globally, Toys ‘R’ Us still operates 900 stores, however, its U.S. stores are going to need the most attention via re-development.

“The U.S. is the biggest toy market in the world,” said Barry. “Fundamentally, this is the place where the business began [with] Charles Lazarus.”

Toys ‘R’ Us founder Charles Lazarus died shortly after the company liquidated, at the age of 94.

Of course, Tru Kids will attempt to navigate away from the downfalls of the previous brand. Toys ‘R’ Us was “criticized for failing to invest in its stores and digital strategy.” The new brand will emphasize its digital presence and retail experience in-store.

Following the company’s bankruptcy, many toy manufacturers lost trust in the company, which is something Barry notes is important.

“We fully appreciate the impact the bankruptcy had on our vendor partners, and fact that it left our vendors impaired,” he said. Though the toymakers were justifiably upset they still “recognize the value” of Toys ‘R’ Us as a distribution chain, according to Barry.