One of the new locations will be in Houston, Texas, while the other will be in Paramus, New Jersey, and the company's aim is to open 10 new stores by the end of 2020, The Washington Post reports.
Instead of just being rows and rows of shelves stocked with what kids actually want, the new Toys "R" Us stores will be more like interactive playgrounds with pre-planned events and activities every day, and the opportunity to play with a handful of toy samples. "B8ta is proud to bring Toys "R" Us stores back to the USA alongside our partner, Tru Kids, and with our retail as a service platform as its engine". Toymakers will pay for space in the stores but will get all the sales.
Phillip Raub, co-founder and president of b8ta and Interim co-CEO of the Toys "R" Us joint venture, added: "As the retail landscape changes, so do consumer shopping habits".
Toys "R" Us, or rather Tru Kids (the company that is helping to manage the brand names left in the wake of the liquidation last year), has teamed up with b8ta, a software company that specializes in immersive retail experiences, and will each own 50% of the new endeavor. B8ta and Tru Kids Brands efforts will create stores that are something akin to the most profitable small store locations in the world: Apple Stores and Microsoft Stores.
Future stores will be slightly larger than the first two, at about 10,000 square feet. And even a "reimagined" Toys "R" Us is better than no Toys "R" Us.
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Some new store features include a section for parents and children to test out toys before making a purchase, interactive stations and an open play space with Geoffrey the Giraffe for photo-ops.
By 2017, when the chain declared bankruptcy, it had almost $8 billion in debt versus just $6.6 billion in assets. Barry was the former global chief merchandising officer for Toys "R" Us.
When news broke that Toys "R" Us was closing up shop previous year, the kid in all of us died a little.
Tru Kids Brands also says it wants to prioritize hiring former employees of Toys R Us, also burned by the demise of the iconic chain, though the company declined to specify the number of jobs it's looking to fill.
"We think that this is going to be scalable, and we think we can grow the business over time", said Barry.