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No one wants to grow up, but if there was one thing an entire generation was hopeful of, it was that we might forever be Toys ‘R’ Us kids. When the mega toy utopia shuttered its doors across the country, everyone lost something.
But shortly after Toys ‘R’ Us closed, a new contender rose from the ashes; “TRU Kids,” a new entity formed when it acquired Toys R Us’ intellectual property during its liquidation in 2018. Under the branding of TRU Kids, reports came one after the next that new stores were on the way. Stores with strategic planning that promised immersive, interactive experiences and themed play stations for its visitors. Hope was rekindled, with reports describing the upcoming plans to resurrect the toy giant.
Included in these plans were promises of six new stores, as well as a new e-commerce site (which, ironically, is Powered by Target).
At long last, two stores did in fact open! TRU Kids made its brick and mortar debut in November 2019, one in Houston, TX and one in New Jersey. For a while, toy lovers and the young at heart were hopeful that the beloved toy Neverland would be making its return. This hope, however, was short lived.
Less than one year after TRU Kids opened to the public, Bloomberg reports both locations unceremoniously shut their doors for good. According to the Associated Press, “The Toys R Us store at the Galleria mall in Houston shuttered on Jan. 15, while one at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, closed on Tuesday.”
Fans and followers of the Toys ‘R’ Us saga were shocked, as many had followed TRU Kids and the company’s return and were really rooting for its success. But in a statement made by TRU Kids, these closures come as a result of weak foot traffic and the pandemic. “As a result of COVID, we made the strategic decision to pivot our store strategy to new locations and platforms that have better traffic,” Tru Kids said in an emailed statement Friday. “Consumer demand in the toy category and for Toys R Us remains strong and we will continue to invest in the channels where the customer wants to experience our brand.”
Outside of the U.S., TRU Kids operates Toys R Us, and Babies R Us branded stores and e-commerce sites through licensing partners in more than 25 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.