Tru Kids, the parent company of Toys R Us, is partnering with retail-as-a-service startup b8ta to launch a new curated store experience.
The first two new Toys R Us stores will open in November, in time for the 2019 holiday season, Toys R Us said in a July 18 press release. The first stores will open in The Galleria in Houston, Texas and in Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J.
“With a 70-year heritage, the Toys R Us brand … 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 joint venture.
The new stores will be interactive destinations with playground-like environments for kids and parents to learn and play. New events and activities will be planned daily and children can test toys before parents commit to buy. Geoffrey the Giraffe is also making a comeback and there will be toy stations embracing STEAM.
“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,” said Phillip Raub, co-founder and president of b8ta and interim co-CEO of the joint venture.
Brand partners and experiences will be announced in the coming weeks, according to the press release. The companies plan to open additional locations in prime, high-traffic retail markets within the U.S. over the course of 2020.
“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,” Barry said.
This joint venture comes after Tru Kids Brands announced the return of Toys R Us earlier in 2019 following its 2017 bankruptcy filing and subsequent store closings last year.