Toys R Us Lands New Owner To Oversee Comeback
Up until September 2017 when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Toys R Us was arguably everyone's favorite place to buy toys. All of Toys R Us' U.S. locations ended up closing while Tru Kids Inc. took over the company's brand and intellectual property.
With nearly $2 billion in retail sales from 900 branded stores across the world and e-commerce sites in 25 countries, Toys R Us still has a presence in the toy world.
Brand acquisition and management firm WHP Global announced yesterday it has acquired a controlling interest in Tru Kids and more than 20 related consumer toy and baby brands for an undisclosed sum. The deal gives WHP, which also owns Anne Klein and Joseph Abboud, the ability to manage the global Tru Kids business and oversee its strategic expansion.
WHP Chairman and CEO Yehuda Shmidman, who has been serving as Vice Chairman of Tru Kids since 2019, said a return of Toys R Us to the U.S. could be a possibility for this holiday season.
"Our investment in Toys R Us reflects our belief and passion for the brand," Shmidman said. "Could it be a shop in shop? Could it be a pop up store? Could it be an airport store? We are exploring it all."
Tru Kids tried to revive the brand in the U.S. by opening two pop up stores in November 2019, but that plan was quickly derailed by the pandemic just a few months later. Tru Kids also announced a partnership with Target in October 2019, where sales on Toys R Us' website would be fulfilled by Target. The partnership appears to have lasted less than one year, however, as Amazon began fulfilling sales by last summer.
WHP's portfolio of brands will be able to leverage its WHP+ product, which is a direct to consumer digital e-commerce platform for brands to manage operations such as technology, data analytics, logistics, creative and digital marketing in-house.
Schmidman is ecstatic about the chance to oversee the iconic toy company's attempt to make a comeback.
"Toys R Us is a magical brand," he said. "It’s the brand that we all associate with happy times and great times. I couldn’t dream of a more powerful brand to invest in."
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