TNI Editorial: Toys R' Us Reopens Store In US, But Is Nostalgia Enough To Save It?!?

by Jay Cochran
December 30, 2021
As we have previously reported here on TNI, Toys R' Us re-opened a new 20,000 square feet flagship store right before Christmas inside American Dream, the entertainment/retail center in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Toys R' Us declared bankruptcy and closed all of it's stores here in the US back in 2018. Since then the name has tried to make a return a few different times, all of which failed. WHP Global, who is the current parent company of Toys"R"Us recently announced plans to return with mini-stores featured at Macy's Department stores and then opened this new flagship store which is the first time we have seen anything come remotely close to resembling the Toys R' Us of old.

If you want to take a look at the new store without having to travel to NJ, then check out this tour video which was filmed on the store's opening day by Transformers aficionado Benson Yee:



Now if you had ever been to the old TRU Flagship store which was located at Times Square in NYC, then you will probably notice some similarities between it and this new one.

Like many adult action figure collectors who grew up during Toys R' Us' heyday, I truly hope WHP is successful in bringing back the TRU name in all it's glory. As I watched Ben's video I could certainly see myself feeling a strong sense of nostalgia... for like maybe 5 minutes. Then reality would start to set in. That the products seen on the shelves of this new store is nothing I couldn't find at any Target or Walmart. Hell some of the stuff seen at this new store was years old and often found at discounters because nobody wanted it the first time around.

While the new store looks modern, it seems to me like they are still operating on the same old failed business model that helped cause them to go out of business in the first place. This idea that young kids are still the primary consumer rushing into a store like this to buy stuff. Now I know this is an idea strongly entrenched into the toy industry as a whole, and I am not suggesting a store like Toys R' Us should completely turn it's back on that demographic. Especially around Christmas time, I am sure it's a demographic a store like TRU needs. However basically totally ignoring the ever growing adult action figure collector market which I would argue has become as important to the toy industry if not more so than the kids one is retail suicide IMO.

Setting aside nostalgia, having another toy retailer powerhouse around to try and loosen the grip that Walmart and Target have gotten on the toy industry since TRU initially folded is a good thing, but I just don't see that happening trying to pretend it's the 80's and 90's when so many more kids were into physical toys for longer periods of time than the are today.

Truth is, the number of adult action figure collectors which is a demographic that has continued to grow while the kids consumer market seemingly has shrunk probably still doesn't have the numbers to offset the loss of those kids who now days quickly move on to electronic devices and cell phones to entertain themselves. I doubt the toy industry will ever experience the type of sales it did back in the 80's and 90's, and perhaps the reality is that the market just can't support a chain of large toy stores anymore, but if Toys R' Us and WHP don't do a better job of competing for that adult action figure demographic, which from what I can tell they have put little to no emphasis on, I would say there is no chance of them getting anywhere close to where they once where. Sure they might be able to keep this one store open banking on nostalgia to keep them afloat with a minor presence at Macy's around the holiday's, but I doubt that is going to give them anywhere near the kind of buying leverage they will need to get toy manufacturers to cater to them in any real way, which would be needed to compete with the likes of Walmart, Target and Amazon.
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Comments...

Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
JMB - 2022-08-15 @ 3:26 pm

Surprised there are none for Ohio since Macy's HQ is based in Cincinnati.

Goldbug - 2022-08-12 @ 7:08 pm
2 hours ago, rono said:

Hard to believe that Toys R Us is only in Houston & El Paso Macy's stores in Texas. Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, & San Antonio are such large markets, it seems they are missing their mark in opportunities. Very odd.

Oh I agree there are some locations missing in Illinois too

rono - 2022-08-12 @ 4:15 pm

Hard to believe that Toys R Us is only in Houston & El Paso Macy's stores in Texas. Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, & San Antonio are such large markets, it seems they are missing their mark in opportunities. Very odd.

Admiral_Brockbar - 2022-08-12 @ 3:20 pm

My biggest concern is the possibility of Toys R Us only exclusives again...this time with even less access. There are no Macy's in my state (WV) and there never will be. I at least had 2 Toys R Us within 120 miles to give me false hope in finding their exclusives.

Toys R Us in general is a tainted brand in my eyes. While they do not have full responsibility, they share blame in the way they axed their employees and worked with Bain Capital to basically buy them out, gut the resources/stock they had, give higher ups bonuses, screw the employees and let it die. Vulture capitalism at its finest.

JayC - 2022-08-12 @ 1:46 pm

Back in mid-July we told you how Toys R' Us and Macy's had put the word out that they planned to have TRU pop-up stores in every Macy's Department store by October of this year.Since then however, I have seen a number of corporate media sites running what I would consider to be click-bait articles like this one on Fox News with a headline proclaiming TRU will reopen in 9 states while showing off an image of an old TRU stand-alone store. Basically making folks think that the TRU of old was set to make a return here in the United States this year.

While no one would like to see the Toys R' Us stand-alone stores of old return than me, sadly that is not what is happening right now. The new Toys R' Us is simply expanding upon what they had started to do last year by opening up much smaller pop-up stores within Macy's department stores, basically trying to capitalize on parents doing their holiday toy shopping while also shopping for other things that one might normally come to Macy's for.You can see images below in our GALLERY of what these Pop-up locations look like below if you have yet to see one for yourselves. These are official images released by Macy's.For exactly what is happening, here is the exact quote from the press release put out in July by Macy's in regards to all of this:Macys expands partnership with WHP Global to bring the beloved ToysRUs brand to every Macys store in America this holiday season. Beginning late July and rolling out through October 15th, the in-store shops will range from 1,000 sq. feet and span up to 10,000 sq. feet in flagship locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. The footprint of stores may flex up an additional 500 to3,000 sq. feet during the holiday season to offer an even wider assortment of products.

So there will be some "Flagship" locations opening up which is where some of those corporate media sites got their "9" new stores opening up for their click bait headlines. These will simply be pop-up stores within Macy's that will be a bit larger than most of the other Pop Up stores, but again these are not new stand-alone stores in any way. There actually will be a total of 11 of these "Flagship" locations at the following Macy's come October:Lenox Square, AtlantaState Street, ChicagoAla Moana, HonoluluMemorial City, HoustonSouth Coast Plaza, LAAventura, MiamiDadeland, MiamiHerald Square, NYCRoosevelt Field, NYCUnion Square, San FranciscoValley Fair, San JoseAs of mid July of this year, these are all the Macy's stores that currently have Toys R' Us Pop Up stores in them:CaliforniaShoppes At Carlsbad - CarlsbadLos Cerritos Center - CerritosChula Vista Center - Chula VistaSerramonte - Daly CityDowney Stonewood Center - DowneyNorth County Fair (Ca) - EscondidoFresno Fashion Fair - FresnoShops At River Park - FresnoMontclair Plaza - MontclairPlaza Bonita - National CityAntelope Valley - PalmdaleStanford (Ca) - Palo AltoSan Bernardino Inland Center - San BernardinoFashion Valley (Ca) - San DiegoOakridge (Ca) - San JoseHillsdale (Ca) - San MateoSanta Ana Mainplace - Santa AnaStockton Sherwood - StocktonVisalia - VisaliaWalnut Creek Broadway Plaza - Walnut CreekWestminster (Ca) - WestminsterConnecticutStamford Town Center - StamfordDistrict of ColumbiaMetro Center (Downtown Dc) - WashingtonGeorgiaCumberland - AtlantaPeachtree - ColumbusNorthlake (Ga) - AtlantaIllinoisLouis Joliet - JolietLouisianaAcadiana - LafayetteMall Of Louisiana - Baton RougeMarylandAnnapolis - AnnapolisLakeforest (Md) - GaithersburgMissouriMid Rivers - Saint PetersSouth County (Mo) - Saint LouisBattlefield (Mo) - SpringfieldChesterfield (Mo) - ChesterfieldNew JerseyNewport Centre (Nj) - Jersey CityBrunswick Square - East BrunswickNevadaHenderson Galleria At Sunset - HendersonSummerlin - Las VegasTexasLa Plaza - McallenNew YorkParkchester - BronxHampton Bays - Hampton BaysSunrise (Ny) - MassapequaAnd then by the end of October of this year you should be able to find TRU Pop-Up stores at Macy's in the following loacations:AlabamaRiverchase Galleria - HooverArizonaBiltmore Fashion Park - PhoenixChandler Fashion Center - ChandlerCaliforniaNewport Fashion Island - Newport BeachCentury City (Ca) - Los AngelesWest Covina - West CovinaRoseville Galleria - RosevilleSherman Oaks Fashion Square - Sherman OaksFairfield Solano - FairfieldArden Fair - SacramentoThe Shops At Montebello - MontebelloBrea (Ca) - BreaBurbank Town Center - BurbankGlendale Galleria - GlendaleDel Amo Fashion Center - TorranceTopanga - Canoga ParkSanta Anita - ArcadiaSacramento Downtown Commons - SacramentoConnecticutConnecticut Post - MilfordShoppes At Buckland Hills - ManchesterTrumbull - TrumbullFloridaMiami International - DoralGeorgiaArbor Place - DouglasvilleIllinoisOakbrook Center - Oak BrookWoodfield - SchaumburgSt. Clair Square - Fairview HghtsOld Orchard - SkokieGurnee Mills - GurneeKansasTown Center Plaza (Ks) - LeawoodMassachusettsSquare One - SaugusSouth Shore Plaza (Ma) - BraintreeMarylandBowie Town Center - BowieMall At Prince Georges - HyattsvilleSecurity Square - BaltimoreMichiganMeridian (Mi) - OkemosThe Crossroads (Mi) - PortageNew HampshireMall At Rockingham Park - SalemNew JerseyWillowbrook (Nj) - WayneCherry Hill - Cherry HillBridgewater Commons - BridgewaterGarden State Plaza - ParamusNew MexicoCoronado Center (Nm) - AlbuquerqueNevadaLas Vegas Fashion Show - Las VegasNew YorkGalleria At Crystal Run - MiddletownStaten Island - Staten IslandManhasset - ManhassetColonie Center - AlbanyWalden Galleria - BuffaloKings Plaza - BrooklynCross County Sc (Ny) - YonkersQueens Center - ElmhurstOregonClackamas Town Center - ClackamasWashington Square (Or) - TigardPennsylvaniaWillow Grove Park - Willow GroveSouth CarolinaHaywood - GreenvilleTexasAlmeda - HoustonCielo Vista - El PasoWhile I can't speak to all these locations, I will note the one listed at Lakeforest Mall in MD won't be there for long being that entire mall is slated to soon be bulldozed in favor of a retail/residential model that has become much more popular than your traditional Malls in that area.As for stand-alone stores, Toys R' Us did open one last year as their true "Flagship" store with a two-level, 20,000 square foot location in their home state of New Jersey, specifically inside American Dream, an entertainment/retail center in Bergen County, New Jersey. That is probably as close as your going to get to experiencing a TRU of old here in the US.

Goldbug - 2022-07-19 @ 1:32 am
2 hours ago, Outsiders said:

Sometimes I feel like we are beating an old Geoffrey... Bring him back, take him away, bring him back, take him away. Stop messing with Geoffrey!

ZOMBIE Geoffrey!!!This time I think it will work better since Macy's never really had any toys(well they dropped them a long time ago).I haven't even checked on JC Penney's toy departments.

Outsiders - 2022-07-18 @ 11:02 pm

Sometimes I feel like we are beating an old Geoffrey... Bring him back, take him away, bring him back, take him away. Stop messing with Geoffrey!

Sebi - 2022-07-18 @ 1:44 pm
On 12/6/2021 at 7:46 AM, JayC said:

As we told you last week, Toys R' Us is planning on opening a brand new Mega-Store later this month in New Jersey which would be the first large TRU store to open here in the United States...."Whileit remains to be seen how impressive this new store will actually be or how well stocked it will be, I doubt it will compare with the golden years of the company which many would argue is in the 80's and early 90s"

Absolutely agreed. The Golden years. Oh how I miss this Heavenly space. I imagine it would be monumental, just for the sheer mental health healing????

Spack - 2021-12-31 @ 2:49 pm

Jay C, your editorial is spot on and I could not agree more. As an adult collector, i would check the TRU shelves about once a month only to find the same old selections collecting dust.

The last best find I ever got out of my local TRU was an early wave of the 6 inch black series that contained the first Stormtrooper. I went in to specifically look for this wave a several times in a 2 week span. On the third visit still nothing new on the pegs and as I was walking out I saw a worker's push cart sitting in an unused check out lane between two registers at the end of the row where employees would just throw returns that were to go back on the shelves. I caught a glimpse of a black series box sitting in the bottom section of it and moved in to see what figure it was. It was the stormtrooper.

No doubt there was a TRU employee who collected or knew someone who collected. This also explained why it was rare to find anything I was looking for at this store.

But this time he got careless. I figured he put it aside for himself or someone else and even though it was not on the peg, it was still fair game as it was still in the store. Time to turn the tables. I picked it up off the cart and went straight to an open register, made the purchase and never looked back.

I always wished I could have seen his face when he search his cart or wonder if he ever went as far to check their security footage to see who got it.

Anyway that was a long time ago and I have adjusted to paying a little more for the things I collect by getting them thru internet store like the ones that support this platform instead of fruitless local searches when gas is at 3 bucks a gallon.

ghostbogey - 2021-12-31 @ 10:37 am

I got off the TRU train...."before" they blew up....

One of reason IMHO was how the treated the customer.

Especially when they were the only game in town (rip KB toy)....

Maybe they Learned........Trying the "Walmart" model for Toys...

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