Toys “R” Us plans to throw its doors open again

The exterior of the retail experience centre in Clayton. Picture: Supplied
The exterior of the retail experience centre in Clayton. Picture: Supplied

Toys “R” Us  is relaunching its physical store presence in Australia with grand plans to open one of the country’s biggest toy and baby stores in time for the Christmas buying rush.

The custom-designed experiential site, which will span 3000sqm, will be attached to Toys “R” Us’s purpose built logistics and head office in Clayton, Victoria.

Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores will be housed at the site. Picture: Supplied

After collapsing in 2018, the brand was bought by Funtastic with a licensing agreement through Toys “R” Us’ US parent company.

Toys “R” Us ANZ chairman Kevin Moore said the new site has been inspired by a Toys “R” Us double level store that opened in the American Dream Mall in New Jersey, which showcased the relevancy of a physical toy store.

He said there was always plans to relaunch in Australia but paused capital expenditure on the Clayton site until Toys ”R” Us completed the runout of nine stores in the UK with British retailer, WHSmith.

The new Clayton store is set to feature a cafe and ice cream shop, the company’s dedicated Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us brands, in addition to more than 200 supplier brands.

The experiential site would span 3000sqm. Picture: Supplied

A ‘robot room’ will also give people a chance to watch the distribution’s centres ‘warehousing robots’ at work.

“It’s very distinct retail outlets. Our global store director of the US and UK, is working with us on this, – so we have distinct areas separated by large walls between Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us and you’ll see the colour fields and the materials being used between the two store areas is very different,” Mr Moore said.

“There’s a whole area where there are rooms to teach mums how to nurse, to teach mums how to do various things, [there’s] a lot of experience and knowledge, that’s on the baby side.

“On that toy side, we’ll have stem and hands-on building, painting. I think that’s the major thing…it’s not just that the fitout is pretty funky, there will be a lot of demonstration and a lot of hands on.”

There will be plenty of space for hands on play. Picture: Supplied

Mr Moore said based on their research, the new site was forecast to deliver $7 million in turnover, and contribute $1.3 million dollars in profit in its first year.

Plans are on track for the store to open well before December.

“We do 40% of our business in September, October, November,” he said.

“Our global stores director, who’s just standing up the nine stores in the UK, and did the majority of the 450  [stores within Macy’s stores] in the US, will probably relocate here for two to three months and he will lead that process,” Mr Moore said.

There are plans to open the store before December. Picture: Supplied

“But our objective is to stand it up and run it before we get to the end of holiday season, so that really gives us you know, October-November at the latest to get it stood up.”

At this stage, there were no plans to open similar style stores in Australia, as Mr Moore said the focus was now on getting the new store right.

“I think the key thing you will see in Australia – and the UK is really seeing it –  is you’ll see a lot more Toys “R” Us stores now,” he said.

“Don’t get hung up on the fact that they’re not going to be a lot of 2000 -1000sqm stores.

“The brand is going to appear almost certainly in retailers around the country – that’s a longer term issue.”