Popular kids' chain store Toys 'R' Us is making a comeback in 2022 after securing a partnership with Macy's equally popular department store.
In a shop-in-shop arrangement to revitalize the toy company, Toys 'R' Us plans to open at 400 Macy's Department Stores. It has begun selling its inventory at Macy's website after new owner WHP Global bought the toy company from Tru Kids Inc. in March 2021.
According to WHP Global's statement, Toys 'R' Us will be revived as a global network with a digital platform after Tru Kids Inc.'s failed attempt. In 2019, the company bought Toys 'R' Us in a liquidation sale with plans to build at least 12 standalone outlets in the U.S. However, Tru Kids Inc. was only able to open two stores in Texas and New Jersey, which also shut down in January 2021 due to the pandemic.
The Millennial Moms Market
Macy's partnership with Toys 'R' Us has been seen as a good move as it tries to compete with other department store giants like Walmart, Kohl's, and Target, which have their shop-in-shop arrangements. Most recently, Target has partnered with Apple (gadgets) and Ulta (makeup) to open the shop-in-shop concept at a dozen outlets, while Kohl's plans to open Sephora (makeup) stores across 70 stores in the U.S. Target had the iconic toy shop on its website for a short period, but its arrangement with Tru Kids Inc. fizzled in 2020.
However, Macy CEO Jeff Gennette said that having Toys 'R' Us will make the department store more appealing to millennial mothers. Based on their studies, when young moms come to their stores to shop for toys, they make additional purchases of higher-margin items.
Macy also said that their toys department sales had grown exponentially in the pandemic year because parents are looking for different toys to keep their children entertained during the lockdown. Since introducing Toys 'R' Us at its online shop, Macy also saw a 20 percent uptick in new online customers.
History of Toys 'R' Us
Charles Lazarus opened Toys 'R' Us more than 70 years ago and expanded with over 1,000 stores to become the only toy store chain nationwide. The company also branched to baby items and children's clothes with Babies 'R' Us and Kids 'R' Us.
Soon, the company license and franchised over 600 stores in 29 countries like Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Spain, and the United Kingdom. It also had a partnership with Amazon.com at the height of its online popularity in the early 2000s.
Lazarus, a Washington, D.C. native, developed his entrepreneurial skills at his father's bike shop, selling baby furniture after the war. Amid the baby boom during the period, Lazarus' customers also asked if he had kids' toys, so he started stocking the shop's inventory with stuffed animals and rattles.
His father's bike shop was changed to Children's Supermart and was quite successful that Lazarus was able to open another shop in Maryland in 1957, which he named Toys 'R' Us. A few years down the road, Lazarus sold his profitable business to Interstate Stores Inc., a department store company, but he continued to run the toys' division. In the 1970s, Lazarus took over as the president and CEO of Interstate Stores Inc., which became Toys 'R' Us Inc.
By the 1980s, Toys 'R' Us became the go-to store for kids' toys all over the U.S. and continued to dominate this market until the new millennium. In 2018, just as his famous company went into liquidation, Lazarus died at the age of 94.
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