To dive into the toy market for the holidays, Kroger is teaming up with the hedge fund owners of formerly Toys R Us exclusive brands from Geoffrey’s Toy Box. The grocer plans to sell a selection of 35 products in almost 600 brick-and-mortar locations during the holiday season, Chain Store Age reported.
Kroger Senior Vice President of Merchandising Robert Clark said, according to the outlet, “Geoffrey’s Toy Box delivers a unique shopping destination within Kroger stores. We’re excited to offer Geoffrey’s Toy Box this holiday season to provide our customers with the opportunity to purchase a selection of toys once exclusive to Toys R Us.”
At the same time, the Chicago Tribune reported that unnamed sources claim that Angelo Gordon and Solus Alternative Asset Management, the hedge funds that have ownership of the Toys R Us brand, may be planning to bring back the chain with brick-and-mortar stores. However, the funds didn’t provide a comment to the newspaper on the matter.
Toys R Us had over 700 locations in the U.S. as of April, including those under the Babies R Us banner, and it had approximately 1,600 stores globally. According to The Wall Street Journal, Toys R Us’ liquidation was the largest retail closure since Sports Authority closed nearly 500 stores.
Since its leveraged buyout, Toys R Us had been burdened with over $5 billion in debt. Competition from eCommerce retailers, such as Amazon, and discount stores like Walmart, hasn’t helped the company either.
Earlier this year, CEO David Brandon said that Toys R Us may liquidate its operations in France, Spain, Poland and Australia. In addition, the company hoped to find a buyer for its Canadian business, which it planned to package with 200 stores in the U.S. “We’re putting a for-sale sign on everything,” Brandon told WSJ. “Frankly, all anyone has to do is offer one dollar more.”