The company plans to open two smaller stores in locations that for now remain a secret.
Toys R Us Canada plans to open two new stores next year as it aims for significant growth now that most consumers understand the toy retailer did not shutter its doors like its American and British counterparts. The confusion came as the American operation closed its final stores in June 2018, while the Canadian business filed for creditor protection and was subsequently purchased by Fairfax Financial Holdings for $300m last year.
“We struggled a fair bit in the Canadian marketplace with people just fundamentally thinking that we were gone,” said Frank Juhasz, vice-president of marketing, public relations and omni-channel innovation. “What followed was a monumental marketing effort to inform Canadians its stores remained open — one that appears to have paid off.”
The new stores will be smaller than the company’s typical big-box format but bigger than its roughly 930-square-metre store in Guelph which opened last year under the Toybox banner. The locations remain a secret, but Frank has said they won’t be found in a major market like Toronto. Toys R Us is also renovating stores and making smaller, less-capital intensive changes at all of its 83 locations. That includes working on cleanliness as well as updating staff uniforms. The company has also worked to offer a better digital experience. It will launch a new website in the first week of September, and plans to offer next-day shipping this holiday season.
The company continues to collect market research to determine how best to become an experiential shopping destination for parents and kids. It has piloted hosting birthday parties, lactation consultants and car seat installation clinics, and is considering partnering with a food service. Toys R Us is focused on being the absolute baby and toy authority for Canadians which will hopefully differentiate it from competitors like Walmart Canada.
The expansion plan announcement comes a day after the company’s president resigned after more than two decades with the company. Melanie Teed-Murch tendered her resignation on Monday, leaving for an undisclosed new job. She will remain with Toys R Us until September 27th.