This Iconic Store Is Relaunching With 400 New Locations by Year's End
This return of this major retailer might make you feel nostalgic.
For many of us, online shopping is just simpler: We can order what we need with the click of a button and have it delivered right to our doorstep. During the COVID pandemic, the ability to shop remotely was invaluable while following stay-at-home orders. Since the world reopened, though, we've been able to also appreciate the benefits that in-store shopping has to offer. Immediate gratification and walking away with that new dress or candle is something that can't be beat—even by Amazon Prime's free two-day shipping. Now, one iconic store is capitalizing on this return to in-store shopping, relaunching with nearly 400 locations by the end of 2022. Read on to learn more about this beloved retailer making a comeback.
The COVID pandemic was harmful for retail stores.
Brick-and-mortar stores suffered during the pandemic, as more of us began to take advantage of shopping from our couches and supply chain issues made it tough to keep shelves stocked. According to a compilation published by commercial real estate firm CoStar Group and reported by Forbes, nearly 12,000 stores closed in the U.S. in 2020, totaling approximately 159 million square feet of retail space. In 2021, things took a positive turn, as retailers announced 5,083 store openings versus 5,079 store closures, NBC News reported. Now in 2022, you'll likely recognize one of the brands looking to make a major comeback.
One popular toy store will be relaunching with new locations in the U.S. and worldwide.
Who didn't love going to pick out a new favorite toy at the store? Walking through the aisles was exciting, and for parents, watching kids shop often offered a similar thrill. Now, Toys 'R' Us, one of the most popular toy retailers in its heyday, is making a return to in-person shopping.
According to Forbes, the chain will open over 400 new concessions in Macy's department stores across the U.S. Globally, Toys 'R' Us also plans to open 400 new locations by the end of 2022, going from 900 to 1,300 outlets.
"We are going to add 50 percent to our store footprint this year with new openings across the world, from China to the U.K. I don't know any other retailer which is pursuing that kind of expansion in this day and age," Yehuda Shmidman, founder, chairman, and CEO of WHP Global, the new parent company for Toys 'R' Us, said (via Forbes).
A new parent company is implementing big changes.
Toys 'R' Us had been on a steep decline before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2018, according to Forbes, and some of the toy store's former creditors are still in litigation over financing issues to this day. As reported by The New York Times, the collapse of Toys 'R' Us also led to 30,000 lost jobs and the closing of 735 stores across the U.S.
However, new goals to revamp the company were established when WHP Global purchased a controlling stake in 2021. "[We have] a crystal clear mission: to bring the new brand back to the consumers that loved it," Shmidman said at the World Retail Congress in Rome earlier this month, Forbes reported.
In Aug. 2021, the company announced a partnership with Macy's, which would begin selling Toys 'R' Us merchandise online and later open Toys 'R' Us locations inside Macy's stores. Also in 2021, just before the Christmas holiday, the company opened a 20,000-square-foot flagship store in the American Dream mall in Bergen County, New Jersey.
The company has also experienced success online and with a new audience.
Also contributing to Toys 'R' Us' growth is the digital success the retailer has experienced. According to Forbes, the brand has established a presence on the social media platform TikTok, with videos featuring the iconic Toys 'R' Us mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe, garnering over 3 million likes.
To appeal to other consumers, aside from those who just generally enjoy toys, Toys 'R' Us has also created a YouTube channel and introduced a non-fungible token (NFT) collection—featuring Geoffrey the Giraffe. These unique digital codes are essentially "certificates or authenticity for digital artifacts," whether it be art, recordings, or virtual real estate, according to Coinbase. By launching NFTs and "entering the blockchain" (where NFTs are stored), Shmidman said in a press release that this "signifies a momentous step into the future and allows us to broaden our engagement with our loyal and expanding community of Toys 'R' Us fans."