Months after Toys ‘R’ Us announced it would close all 800 of its U.S. stores and liquidate all their shiny, blinking, battery-powered contents, it looks as though the beloved toy brand may not lie dormant for long.
Citing unnamed sources close to the matter, Bloomberg reports that former Toys ‘R’ Us CEO Jerry Storch has made initial moves to explore a reboot of the venerable Toys ‘R’ Us name, eyeing a potential investment package that would seek out funding for a revived line of stores.
So far, moves to bring Toys ‘R’ Us back to life have centered on raising the money from investors who believe the brand still has plenty of value, as well as gauging interest from brick-and-mortar property owners about the possibility of leasing store space for a new line of stores that would combine both the Toys ‘R’ Us and the Babies ‘R’ Us brands.
Storch, the report states, has “engaged shopping-center landlords about leasing space” under a revival plan that calls for “having several hundred stores that house both toy and baby brands under one roof,” according to Bloomberg’s sources.
Founded in 1957 by Charles P. Lazarus (who passed away in March), the retail chain grew into a revered destination alongside the advent of merchandising tie-ins and franchised toy rights throughout the 1980s and 1990s. But as online retailers began carving a wider swath into the chain’s foot traffic-based sales model, business slipped, and word came earlier this year that the chain would close its stores for good.
The wholesale shutdown of the toy giant left some in the industry believing that an opportunity to profit from the brick-and-mortar store model had been prematurely tossed out. Under new ownership, a revived KB Toys brand followed close on the heels of the Toys ‘R’ Us announcement in March with a pledge to open 1,000 small-scale toy stores in pop-ups and malls throughout the U.S. to fill the retail void.
Bloomberg cautions that any effort to resurrect Toys ‘R’ Us in the near future will “face long odds because of how far the former market giant has fallen,” as well as ”concerns that it might be too late to restart the business in time for this Christmas-shopping season.” But even if the path is still far from clear, we want to know: Are you excited about the possibility of getting to be a Toys ‘R’ Us kid again?