The first two new Toys R Us stores will open this holiday season, located in The Galleria in Houston, Texas, a Simon Mall, and in Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. True Kids and B8ta plan to open even more locations in prime, high-traffic retail markets within the US over the course of 2020. Brand partners and experiences will also be announced in the coming weeks.
"With a 70-year heritage, the Toys R Us brand is beloved by kids and families around the world, and 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 Toys R Us joint venture. "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.”
The new Toys R Us stores wil reimagine the traditional toy store model, focusing on creating an interactive, immersive experience for both children and adults. The in-store experience will be kept fresh with events and activities from seeing toys displayed out of the box to test before making a purchase, to visiting different brand stations to driving learning through play embracing STEAM, or just having fun with Geoffrey the Giraffe in the open play space.
"As a kid, my memory of Toys R Us was running up and down the aisles kicking balls and playing with the coolest toys," said Phillip Raub, co-founder and president of b8ta and interim co-CEO of the Toys R Us joint venture. "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. In partnership with Richard and his team, we are excited to bring back Toys R Us in an immersive way, focused on creating a fun and engaging experience for kids—and adults, too.”
Toys R Us hopes to see a new, more prosperous future for itself with B8ta’s experiential retail model. Toy brands will have the opportunity to design custom experiences and branded shops to help them facilitate memorable customer engagements. This environment will leverage b8ta's Retail as a Service platform, which enables brands to actively manage their in-store experiences and measure how offline experiences translate into online sales.
"We launched b8ta to change the fundamental infrastructure of retail, from the business model to the customer experience,” said Vibhu Norby, CEO of B8ta. “B8ta is proud to bring Toys R Us stores back to the US alongside our partner, Tru Kids, and with our Retail as a Service platform as its engine, the new Toys R Us stores will be the most progressive and advanced stores in its category in the world, and we hope to surprise and delight kids for generations to come."