This week, the toy industry and the consuming public were, once again, greeted with a new version of Toys R Us. It is getting wearying.
It feels like each iteration of Toys R Us since the original’s collapse in 2017 has been created on the fly. Each iteration is, seemingly, an attempt to utilize the brand by slapping it on a retail concept without a clear vision of how the brand and the conception fit together.
How much thought did the TRU Kids management, the successor owner of the Toys R Us brand, put into its strange combination? They chose to create a store-within-a-store concept for Kroger while at the same time initiating a chain of mall-based, small footprint, experiential stores? How did these two retailing concepts work in advancing the Toys R Us brand? They did not. The Kroger venture failed, and the mall concept did also (Covid did not help).
We are now faced with a similar development under the brand’s latest owner, WHP Global. This time, instead of a Kroger / mall store combination, we are getting a Macy’s / mall store combination. Again, how do these two halves make a whole? What does the Toys R Us brand stand for? Is it a department store class retailer, or is it a version of Camp, the experiential toy chain?
Toys R Us was a great brand. It could be great again by providing a clear vision that communicates intuitively to all stakeholders. Not by confusing the public with a mix of mismatched and yet to be proven retail concepts.