Brand management company WHP Global is buying a controlling stake in the parent company of Toys R Us. In an interview with CNBC, WHP Global CEO Yehuda Shmidman said the plan is to open new Toys R Us stores, possibly before this holiday season.
That would be a big turnaround for a company that liquidated its business just three years ago.
After that happened, in 2018, Walmart, Target and Amazon seized on an opportunity, with “more advertising, more product,” said Brian Yarbrough at Edward Jones. “Some of them added a little bit more square footage to that department.”
And, during the pandemic, with lockdowns and school closures, toy sales grew 16% in 2020, according to NPD Group. Yarbrough said the big players have had the scale and technology to capture that growth.
“You gotta be able to buy online, pick up from store, pick up curbside,” he said.
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But people are still familiar with the Toys R Us brand, said Sean McGowan at Gateway Investor Relations. He said the company’s new stores are likely to focus on the experience of buying toys.
“The joy of going to a toy store, and looking around, saying, ‘I’d love to have that, love to have that,’ and walking out with something, and probably walking out with something more than what you intended to walk out with when you walked in,” McGowan said.
He said Toys R Us will probably open smaller stores that can specialize in the toy-buying experience.