Do you miss Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us? If there’s been a Geoffrey the Giraffe sized hole in your shopping experience since Toys ‘R’ Us closed last year, you may be in luck.
A bunch of former Toys “R” Us executives have formed a new company and are trying to get the retailer back into the American marketplace.
Toys “R” Us closed stores in the US, the UK and Australia last year, but Toys “R” Us branded stores remain open in parts of Europe, Asia and Canada.
Richard Barry was the former global chief merchandising officer at Toys “R” Us. Now he’s the CEO of a new company, Tru Kids Brands, which took over the rights to the Toys “R” Us brand last fall. “We have significant interest about how to bring the brand back to the US,” Barry told CNN Business this week, though he won’t say exactly what that looks like.
Barry says he’s working around the clock, considering options with “a whole series of different companies, some are existing retailers, some tech companies,” to figure out how to best appeal to and serve American parents.
Figuring out a retail re-birth that doesn’t involve brick-and-mortar stores could be good for the Toys “R” Us brand. According to Pew, there are more than 16 million millennial moms in America (a ton of potential customers for Toys “R” Us) but in its financial filings for 2017 Toys “R” Us actually blamed millennials for not having enough kids to support the brick and mortar stores.
Coming up with a plan to appeal to millennial parents rather than blaming them for an outdated business model may be the first step in bringing Toys “R” Us back to life, but Barry and his team are going to have to work hard to capture customers that are now wandering the aisles of an expanded toy section at Target and ordering so much stuff from Amazon.
Right now in cities across America, some former brick-and-mortar Toys “R” Us locations are becoming furniture stores and discount chains while other storefronts are still sitting vacant. Some have attracted vandals and other trespassers, the empty buildings becoming a blight on the communities they once served.
It’s a lesson for all companies trying to appeal to millennial moms: It is not our job to come to you and keep you in business. It’s your job to understand us enough that we want to give you our business.
The 16 million millennial moms in America didn’t kill Geoffrey the Giraffe, but if Barry plays his cards right, millennial mamas might bring him back to life.