Toys R Us is back from the dead, but its new stores are unrecognizable

Toys R Us is back from the dead, but its new stores are unrecognizable

A year after shutting all its U.S. stores, Toys R Us is making a comeback. The international chain, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017, is opening two mall stores this holiday season and bringing back its website. But don’t expect the Toys R Us you’re used to. 'We’re reinventing Toys R Us to make it fun and interactive for kids and parents.'

Key findings

The revamped Toys R Us is a joint venture between Tru Kids Brands—which acquired the Toys R Us brand in January—and b8ta, a chain of “experiential” consumer electronics stores. The new effort is being led by Barry and Phillip Raub, the founder of b8ta.

The company was founded in 1948 as a baby furniture shop in Northwest Washington, but quickly became a destination for toys of all kinds. In recent years, though, it had fallen into disarray and had billions in debt, much of it from a 2005 leveraged buyout. Its bankruptcy filing listed $7.9 billion in debt against $6.6 billion in assets.

Toys R Us had annual sales of $11.5 billion when it filed for bankruptcy. The company was unable to turn a profit, though, because it was paying $400 million a year toward its debt.

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