NEWS

Are former Toys R Us execs reviving the bankrupt retailer?

Published on: 25th January 2019

A new firm called Tru Kids was launched on Sunday, armed with the ownership rights to the Toys R Us and Babies R Us trademarks.

The New York Post has reported that a bid to bring back Toys R Us may be on the cards. Former executives at the bankrupt toy chain, which liquidated all of its US stores last year, began actively reaching out to toy manufacturers this week to discuss a comeback plan for the brand, according to reports.

An email obtained by The Post indicates that a new firm called Tru Kids was launched on Sunday, armed with the ownership rights to the Toys R Us and Babies R Us trademarks, as well as the company’s Geoffrey the Giraffe mascot.

According to the email, execs at the new company — whose chief executive is Richard Barry, the former chief merchandiser of the retailer — were looking to set up meetings at Toy Fair New York, the industry’s biggest US trade show, which begins 16th February.

Reactions to the execs’ presence at the fair are likely to be varied; many suppliers have blamed some of those same executives for losses associated with the Toys R Us bankruptcy. Some vendors recently contacted by Tru Kids executives are weighing whether to do business with the company.

“Almost everyone at the show got burned by Toys R Us,” one toy executive has said.

Tru Kids executives have reportedly just returned from Hong Kong, where they attempted to drum up interest from retailers, including their own franchisees, in their private-label products.

Insiders say the skeleton crew of ex-Toys R Us execs has been working out of the company’s old headquarters in Wayne, NJ, at One Geoffrey Way, a building that never got sold in the liquidation. The executive team includes former legal counsel Jamie Young and other merchandising and financial executives including Matt Finnegan and Rich Ryan, the email said.

Tru Kids “will service the many Tru stores around the globe,” the email said, as well as its Geoffrey line of private label toys and its Geoffrey’s Toy Box kiosks, which were launched inside Kroger supermarkets during the holidays.

The trademarks belong to a group of hedge funds, including Solus Alternative Asset Management and Angelo Gordon. Tru Kids also is interested in opening pop-up Toys R Us stores and striking deals with other retailers like Kroger.

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