Toys R Us is trying again to open a brick-and-mortar location. This time, it’s just one store, which parent company WHP Global has strategically placed in one of the nation’s top shopping destinations: the American Dream mall in New Jersey.
After the major closing of all Toys R Us locations in 2018, and then the unsuccessful reboot in 2019, Toys R Us partnered with Macy’s department stores to keep the brand alive. While the Toys R Us brand will continue to be available in many Macy’s stores, the toy brand seems to be turning a new-new leaf. The flagship store will be two levels and hyper-focused on product demos, children’s play, and more.
In a recent CivicScience survey, 52% of consumers reported favorability toward the Toys R Us brand before its nationwide closure. Only 6% of survey respondents had a negative perception of the brand.
A department store was certainly a good choice for the “shop-in-shops” partnership with Macy’s considering that Kohl’s-favorable consumers reported the highest instance of favorability toward Toys R Us pre-bankruptcy (when compared against Macy’s, Target, Walmart, and Amazon favorables). While Kohl’s isn’t Macy’s, Macy’s-favorable consumers were right behind in shared favorability.
Target-favorable consumers followed closely behind Macy’s lovers in their appreciation of the Toys R Us brand. Considering that the most toy-buying over the last 30 days was done by Kohl’s lovers and Target lovers respectively (in comparison to Walmart, Macy’s, and Amazon favorables), Toys R Us will have some ground to win back as it gains new footing.
It’s unclear whether or not the flagship store in New Jersey is intended to lead to additional locations across the country, but CivicScience surveying shows a significant interest in new locations, which could be encouraging for Toys R Us.
In a study of more than 2,200 U.S. adults, 48% of the respondents said they were at least somewhat likely to visit a Toys R Us store should one open nearby, while 52% said they were not at all likely. This is almost equivalent to the percentage of consumers who said they were favorable to the store before it closed down.
On the cusp of its reopening at the American Dream mall, the data paint a picture of consumers who still really like Toys R Us. But with few people ever having shopped the brand at Macy’s, it’s likely that it’s the in-store experience that will really pull people in.
While other retailers scooped up shares of the toy market in Toys R Us’ absence, the brand is back with a focus on creating an experiential environment for kids and families.