Toys “R” Us marked its return to the United States on Wednesday by opening its first store at a location in New Jersey, according to reports.
Toys “R” Us filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and closed down all its 700 stores in 2018. The retailer is now under new ownership.
“We wanted to make sure that everywhere you turned in the store there was interactivity,” said Richard Barry, president and CEO of Tru Kids, the parent company of the firm, CNBC reported.
The opening of the new store comes just two days before Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.
He added: “We have an amazing number of digital experiences throughout the store, but we also have good old analog [experiences]. … Take the products out of the boxes and kids will be able to get their hands on them.”
The first store was opened at the popular Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus on the second floor News12 in New Jersey reported.
“This store has about 1,500 items, but through the technology in the store, you can buy over 15,000 items today,” Barry told the local news station.
Barry added to CNBC that he is hoping to scout additional real estate for new locations.
“We believe that Toys “R” Us was renowned, and customers really saw us as the experts in the space,” he said. “And we want to make sure we deliver on that, but in a very different way than we were before, because this is a … high-touch, experiential store.”
The company said that the stores will be smaller but more engaging for customers.
“We know that customers love shopping as a means of entertainment. That’s something built into the DNA of human beings,” Barry told CNN Business. “We also know kids and families are looking for things to do on the weekends or when school’s out. We know parents and families really value play and the value of toys overall. As we thought about the strategy, we wanted to put all those things together.”
The store’s collapse took place after private equity firms purchased it in 2005 for $6.6 billion. KKR, Bain Capital, and Vornado used $5 billion of debt to finance the deal, CBS noted.
Other private equity-owned retailers such as “Shopko (owned by Sun Capital); Payless ShoeSource (Alden Global Capital and Invesco); Gymboree (Bain); Sports Authority (Leonard Green); and Mervyn’s Department Store (Cerberus Capital Management)” also have gone under in recent years, CBS said.
Transformco confirmed the layoffs to Business Insider the Sears layoffs after reports emerged.
“Since purchasing substantially all the assets of Sears Holdings Corporation in February 2019, Transformco has faced a difficult retail environment,” the statement said.
It added, “We have been working hard to position Transformco for success by focusing on our competitive strengths and pruning operations that have struggled due to increased competition and other factors. Unfortunately, this process resulted in a number of difficult but necessary decisions, including closing stores and making adjustments at our corporate headquarters and field positions to reflect our new structure. We regret the impact that this has on our associates and their families.”
An anonymous source told the website that at the Sears corporate office in San Francisco, about two dozen corporate workers were told they would lose their jobs. Workers at Sears’ headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, will also face layoffs.