Collapsed retailer Toys ‘R’ Us is gearing up for an Australian comeback, with owner Tru Kids Brands actively exploring the possibility of bringing both the Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us brands back to life through new local partnerships.
President and chief executive of Tru Kids Brands Richard Barry confirmed to IR that the company has begun discussions with potential partners in the region in an attempt to revive its operations in Australia.
“We are actively looking for partners in the region, and have recently visited Australia to discuss opportunities with prospective partners to bring Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us back to the region,” Barry told IR.
Tru Kids Brands, a new company formed of returning Toys ‘R’ Us executives, owns the IP to Toys ‘R’ Us, Babies ‘R’ Us, Geoffrey the Giraffe, as well as many of the brands sold through the liquidated business.
The team that formerly managed the Australian arm of the business currently has “no association” with the future of the brand.
Looking forward, Barry said Tru Kids Brands would focus on serving its customers through all channels – physical, digital, experiential and mobile – and while he couldn’t share the business’s exact strategy, he said, “We do know that we will have an omnichannel approach that is tech immersive and experiential with a smaller footprint.”
While Toys ‘R’ Us retains strong brand value, it could be difficult to reclaim its market share, with many customers opting to purchase such products online moving forward.
“Prior to its demise, Toys ‘R’ Us was the largest retailer in the industry, with a market share of over 20 per cent,” IBISWorld senior industry analyst Kim Do said.
“However, the company’s decline has accelerated the rate at which department stores and online-only retailers have captured market share, as consumers have shifted their spending away from industry retailers.”
According to IBISWorld data, the toy and game retailing industry is expected to see a revenue drop of almost 16 per cent over 2019, with the market expecting to generate around $740 million – down from the $880.2 million seen in the prior year.
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