Brand management company buys parent company of Toys R Us

The deal comes nearly two months after the two remaining Toys R Us stores closed.

NEW YORK – Editor’s Note: The above video is from February 1, 2021.

A New York-based brand management company, which already owns Anne Klein and Joseph Abboud, is taking a majority stake in the parent company of iconic brands Toys R Us and Babies R Us.

Yehuda Shmidman, co-founder, president and CEO of WHP Global, declined to offer terms of the financial deal in the deal with Tru Kids Inc., which was reached on Friday.

Tru Kids was formed in January 2019 when it acquired the intellectual property of Toys R Us during its liquidation in 2018. Shmidman has served as vice president of Tru Kids since early 2019.

The deal, announced on Monday, comes nearly two months after the closure of the only two Toys R Us stores that were part of a small bid to bring the iconic toy chain back to the United States. Both stores, which had opened in November 2019, were based in malls.

The moves come as physical stores, particularly mall locations, have been hit by low customer traffic amid the pandemic. However, overall toy sales have been a bright spot, rising 16% last year as parents seek to entertain children while at home during the pandemic, says NPD Group Inc., a company market studies.

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The US Toys R Us online business remains operational. And outside of the United States, Toys R Us and Babies R Us generate more than $2 billion in global retail sales annually through nearly 900 branded stores and e-commerce sites in more than 25 countries.

“Our investment in Toys R Us reflects our belief and passion for the brand,” Shmidman said. He noted that the US business will consist of both online and physical stores, although the strategy is still being worked out. But he thinks the United States business is a billion-plus-dollar opportunity.

“Could it be a store within a store? Could it be a pop-up store? Could it be an airport store? said Shmidman. “We are exploring all of that.”

Cathy W. Howerton