Toys “R” Us, the beloved toy store known for its bright colors and Geoffrey the Giraffe mascot, is planning a comeback after filing for bankruptcy six years ago. Its parent company, WHP Global, announced that it will open up to 24 flagship stores across the United States, along with 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 CEO of WHP Global, expressed confidence in the brand’s strength and growth.
WHP Global did not disclose the specific locations for the flagship stores, but stated that “prime locations” are being identified. This comeback attempt follows a previous effort in 2021 when Toys “R” Us opened a flagship store at the American Dream mall in New Jersey. The company also launched mini-shops inside Macy’s stores. Brick-and-mortar stores have faced challenges in recent years due to the rise of e-commerce and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Toys “R” Us, once a global toy store chain, filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and closed its last U.S. stores by 2018.
This revival of Toys “R” Us may tap into nostalgia and attract parents and children who have fond memories of the iconic toy store. Many people who grew up after the store’s founding in 1957 may have fond memories of exploring the vast selection of toys and encountering Geoffrey the Giraffe. Lars Perner, a marketing professor, suggests that this appeal to nostalgia, along with the addition of stores in travel locations, could drive business. However, the new flagship stores will face competition from online retail giants like Amazon, as well as large discount stores like Walmart and Target. Some experts remain skeptical of the long-term success of this comeback attempt.