Toys R Us return
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
13 February 2019
How feasible is the Toys R Us return?
It appears the rumors of Toys R Us demise are greatly exaggerated. Tru Kids Brands announces that it has begun the Toys R Us return by reopening stores in the coming months.
Run by former Toys R Us executives, Tru Kids Brands was founded because of a belief in the equity of the Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands.
Basically, this is Toys R Us 2.0, also known as Toys R Us without the debt of the 1.0 version. What does the Toys R Us return mean?
Fundamentally, the market forces in place when Toys R Us failed are still here. If not worse. Kids simply aren’t playing with toys as much as they once did. For many kids, going to a toy store is much more cumbersome than opening up the app store on their tablet, console or computer. The Toys R Us return comes “in a completely new and reimagined way” as the new CEO Richard Berry put it in a statement. But it does not change the fact that one of the reasons Toys R Us failed is that shoppers no longer had reasons to come to the store.
For many, shopping on Amazon or simply downloading a game is just easier and cheaper.
“I do think Toys R Us and Babies R Us own some brand equity. But, especially for the former, I wonder how much of that equity is just nostalgia.”
The Toys R Us return arrives with market forces worse than ever
There are a great number of retailers closing and declaring bankruptcy. Unfortunately, it happens all the time. But what doesn’t happen all the time is a retailer coming back from the dead. Those resurrecting themselves often evolve into an e-commerce option. (Circuit City comes to mind.)
I do think Toys R Us and Babies R Us own some brand equity. But, especially for the former, I wonder how much of that equity is just nostalgia. It might have some equity for parents as a wonderland they once visited as a child. But, for today’s kids, it’s meaningless.
The Toys R Us return starts in large markets in highly visible areas. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty safe bet that Toys R Us will never fully get back to where it once sat. It’s time is simply up.
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