Toys “R” Us, the iconic toy store that filed for bankruptcy six years ago, is making a comeback with plans to open up to 24 flagship stores across the United States starting next year. WHP Global, the parent company that acquired a controlling stake in Toys “R” Us in 2021, announced the news. These new stores will be accompanied by shops in airports and on cruise ships through a partnership with Go! Retail Group. The first airport shop will open in November at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Yehuda Shmidman, the chairman and CEO of WHP Global, expressed confidence in the brand’s strength and its expansion into different platforms.
WHP Global did not disclose the specific locations of the flagship stores but stated that prime locations were being identified. This comeback attempt follows the opening of a flagship store at American Dream mall in New Jersey in 2021 and the launch of mini-shops inside Macy’s stores across the US. The decision to revive Toys “R” Us comes during a challenging period for brick-and-mortar stores, with many facing closures due to the rise of e-commerce and the impact of the pandemic. Toys “R” Us, founded by Charles Lazarus in 1957, was once a global leader in the toy store industry but struggled with debt and ultimately closed its last US stores in 2018.
While some experts believe the nostalgia associated with Toys “R” Us could attract customers to the new flagship stores, others are skeptical about the long-term success of the venture. The stores will have to compete with online giants like Amazon and big box retailers like Walmart and Target, which often offer lower prices. However, the company is optimistic about its expansion into air, land, and sea retail spaces and believes that catering to the travel industry could be a successful strategy, as vacationers tend to spend more. Only time will tell if Toys “R” Us can reclaim its former glory in a rapidly evolving retail landscape.