The next chapter in the Toys “R” Us saga is officially official. As reported last month, Toys “R” Us has officially emerged as a new company, Tru Kids Inc. dba Tru Kids Brands. The company is the new parent of Toys “R” Us, Babies R Us, Geoffrey the Giraffe and more than 20 established consumer toy and baby brands. Tru Kids is headquartered in New Jersey with a team of returning Toys “R” Us employees.
Tru Kids Brands is led by Richard Barry, the former global chief merchandising officer at Toys “R” Us, who will serve as President & CEO. Joining Barry are Matthew Finigan as CFO, James Young as EVP of global license management & general counsel, and Jean-Daniel Gatignol as SVP of global sourcing & brands.
The company appointed brand management veteran Yehuda Shmidman as Vice Chairman to advise on global strategy and execution. Shmidman is the CEO of Wave Hill Partners, and the former CEO of Sequential Brands Group.
“Despite unprecedented efforts to capture the U.S. market share this past holiday season, there is still a significant gap and huge consumer demand for the trusted experience that Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us delivers,” says Barry. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write the next chapter of Toys“R”Us by launching a newly imagined omni channel retail experience for our beloved brands here in the U.S. In addition, our strong global footprint is led by experienced and passionate operating teams that are 100% focused on growth.”
Among the brands controlled by Tru Kids are Animal Alley, Animal Zone, Avigo, Bruin, Dream Dazzlers, EduScience, FastLane, Imaginarium, Just Like Home, Just Like Home Workshop, Journey Girls, Koala Baby, Pavillion, Sizzlin’ Cool, Stats Sports, Totally Me!, True Heroes, and You & Me. Several of these house brands were kept in front of consumers this past holiday season through Geoffrey’s Toy Box, a branded display initiative in partnership with Kroger.
The TRU and BRU brands generated over $3 billion in global retail sales in 2018 through more than 900 stores and e-commerce businesses in 30+ countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. More than 9.5 million followers still track the company across social media channels in the U.S.
Global partners include Al Futtaim Sons Co. LLC (UAE), Green Swan (Iberia), Keshet-Hypertoy Ltd (Israel), Lotte Shopping Co. Ltd (S. Korea), Marketing Services and Commercial Projects Operation Company (Saudi Arabia), Tablez & Toyz Private Ltd. (India), and Toys (Labuan) Holding Ltd. in partnership with Fung Retailing Ltd. (Asia). The Company will work closely with each to expand the Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us businesses in their respective markets as well as actively seek opportunities to bring the brands to new and emerging territories.
Tru Kids’ global partners are set to bring Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us to more customers through the opening of 70 stores this year in Asia, India and Europe and the development of new e-commerce platforms in several key markets.
“We have an incredible team focused on bringing Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us back in a completely new and reimagined way, so the U.S. doesn’t have to go through another holiday without these beloved brands,” added Barry.
The company promises further updates on its U.S. business strategy to follow.
Top Photo: Toys“R”Us store at Phoenix MarketCity Bangalore, India. Courtesy Tru Kids Brands.