Toys R Us offers interactive experience to increase sales

There are only two stores of the renovated Toys R Us, the one in New Jersey and another in Houston

Jaelyn Farrell climbed a fortress in a tree, played in fake sand and pushed a “Paw Patrol” toy car.

But the 8-year-old girl was not in a playground or a friend’s house, she was in a mall, in a new Toys R Us toy store. The chain, which was relaunched for this holiday season after filing bankruptcy in 2018, lets children play with the hope that parents will buy again.

The New Jersey store “has great things,” Jaelyn said during the walk with his father and younger brother. “Young children or big children, like me, can play here.” In its best days, Toys R Us attracted crowds for its Pokemon tournaments, but its appeal dissipated with the rise of Amazon.

Now a new generation of toy stores hopes to capitalize on the fall of the old Toys R Us with emphasis on the game. They fight for a share of a $ 28 billion toy market in the United States, which currently focuses on Amazon, Walmart and Target.

Richard Barry, director of the new parent company of Toys R Us, thinks about $ 2 billion of that market is available.

“We sell toys,” Barry said. “But what kids want is to play.”

There are only two stores in the renovated Toys R Us, the one in New Jersey and another in Houston, although it plans to open eight more by 2020. They are seven times smaller than the old stores and emphasize interactive experiences.

Although the old Toys R Us had fun events to attract children, the merchandise was still king, with toys stacked to the ceiling. The new Toys R Us unpacks the toys for children to try. In the New Jersey store, children fired Nerf while Geoffrey, the chain’s mascot, was hanging around.

“Amazon and other online stores dramatically change retail sales, and competition will only become more complicated for physical stores,” said Michael Goldstein, former CEO of Toys R Us and board member of Camp, a new chain with a race track for electric scooters and a room dedicated to arts, crafts and musical presentations. “We want people to come to our stores and have a rewarding experience.”

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