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Babies R Us Opens First Store Since 2018, Plans National Expansion In Buy Buy Baby's Wake

The since-closed Babies R Us store at the Staten Island Mall, seen in 2018.

Babies R Us is opening in New Jersey's beleaguered American Dream Mall — its first physical store since its parent company went under five years ago — with the baby goods retailer's new owner setting sights on more stores across the country.

Babies R Us owner Toys R Us went bankrupt in 2018, marking one of the biggest retail closures in the nation's history. Yehuda Shmidman’s WHP Global bought Toys R Us and Babies R Us out of bankruptcy, and after opening the 10K SF Babies R Us at the American Dream, he signaled far bigger ambitions — going after the $1B in market share he estimates is available with the demise of Buy Buy Baby.

“In terms of what we did with Toys R Us, we started with our flagship here and we opened up 452 Toys R Us stores inside Macy’s across the United States, fully today operational,” Shmidman told CoStar. “We will replicate the strategy for Babies R Us, where a global flagship at American Dream will be the site for the one, and then stay tuned for a partner to be announced for a rollout nationally.”

He added the firm wants to come out with a “game plan” by the end of the year. The reimagined Babies R Us outlets are set to be smaller than the originals and will focus on allowing customers to experience the products. There are more than 100 Babies R Us stores in the U.S. and a total of more than 1,400 Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores around the world, per CoStar.

Buy Buy Baby, a subsidiary of Bed Bath & Beyond, said this month it would shut down after it failed to receive any bids at a bankruptcy auction. The company's intellectual property was purchased, but the search for a buyer for the whole business didn't materialize.

Bed Bath & Beyond filed for a Chapter 11 restructuring in April, announcing plans to close all of its remaining stores — 360 Bed Bath & Beyond locations and 120 Buy Buy Baby shops — by the end of June.

It is certainly not the only chain to go under this year. Dallas-based Tuesday Morning is closing 487 stores, and Christmas Tree Shops filed for bankruptcy in May and plans to close all 80 of its stores.

Many stores are moving away from the large-scale approach and adapting to smaller-concept operations. Target has been opening smaller stores in cities in the last few years, as has Ikea.