SAN FRANCISCO—Toys R’ Us stores may be returning in the Bay Area at some capacity as the parent company who owns the brand sold a controlling stake to brand management company WHP Global. The new owners are looking to open flagship stores, pop-ups, airport shops, or mini-stores within other retailers, across North America ahead of 2021’s holiday season.
Toys R’ Us sold or closed all of its remaining stores in the United States, with several in the Bay Area, in early 2018 after filing for bankruptcy in 2017, but that was not the end for the toy store brand.
WHP Global became a majority stakeholder in Toys R’ Us’ parent company Tru Kids Inc. on March 15, 2021. Geoffrey LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 18, 2017, the company’s lenders announced in October 2018 that it planned to re-launch the U.S. Toys R’ Us retail business in the future. On January 20, 2019, the company re-emerged from bankruptcy changing their name to Tru Kids Inc. Only two locations remained open in the United States until they closed down in 2021 due to financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yehuda Shmidman, co-founder, chairman and CEO at WHP Global told CNBC, “Our investment in Toys R Us reflects our belief and passion for the brand,” Market research company. The NPD Group stated that Toy sales last year rose to $25.1 billion in the U.S., up 16 percent from 2019. WHP Global also owns several other toy brands.