After much speculation, Tru Kids Brands, owner of the Toys “R” Us brand, announced it will bring Toys “R” Us stores back to the U.S. this holiday season. Tru Kids and b8ta, a software-powered experiential retailer, have entered into a joint venture to launch a new store experience that will deliver “the hottest toy products and brands,” carefully curated and showcased in highly immersive smaller-format spaces. The first two new Toys “R” Us stores will open this holiday season, located in The Galleria in Houston, Texas, a Simon Mall, and in Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. Brand partners and experiences will be announced in the coming weeks.

“With a 70 year heritage, the Toys “R” Us brand is beloved by kids and families around the world, and continues to play a leading role in the hearts and minds of today’s consumers,” says Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids and interim co-CEO of the new Toys “R” Us joint venture. “We have an incredible opportunity to entirely reimagine the Toys “R” Us brand in the U.S. and are thrilled to partner with b8ta and key toy vendors to create a new, highly-engaging retail experience designed for kids, families, and to better fit within today’s retail environment.”

“As a kid, my memory of Toys “R” Us was running up and down the aisles kicking balls and playing with the coolest toys,” says Phillip Raub, co-founder and president of b8ta and interim co-CEO of the Toys”R”Us joint venture. “As the retail landscape changes, so do consumer shopping habits. But what hasn’t changed is that kids want to touch everything and simply play. In partnership with Richard and his team, we are excited to bring back Toys “R” Us in an immersive way, focused on creating a fun and engaging experience for kids — and adults, too.”

Using b8ta’s experiential retail model, brands will showcase their products in an interactive, playground-like environment, creating a retail experience centered around product discovery and engagement. Brands also will have the opportunity to design custom experiences and branded shops to help them create memorable experiences for parents and children. This experiential retail environment will leverage b8ta’s Retail as a Service (RaaS) platform, which enables brands to actively manage their in-store experiences and measure how offline experiences translate into online sales.

“We launched b8ta to change the fundamental infrastructure of retail, from the business model to the customer experience. b8ta is proud to bring Toys “R” Us stores back to the U.S. alongside our partner, Tru Kids, and with our Retail as a Service platform as its engine,” says Vibhu Norby, CEO of b8ta. “The new Toys “R” Us stores will be the most progressive and advanced stores in its category in the world, and we hope to surprise and delight kids for generations to come.”