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Two-Story Slide And An Ice Cream Parlor: Toys R Us Plans ‘Interactive’ Brick-And-Mortar Return

A rendering of the Toys R Us store planned for the American Dream mall.

After shuttering its final two U.S. stores early this year, Toys R Us is returning to brick-and-mortar with a bang, with plans to open a 20K SF experiential store by the end of the year.

The toy retailer’s parent company, WHP Global, announced Wednesday that it will open a two-floor store in the massive American Dream mall in New Jersey in mid-December, “just in time for the 2021 holiday shopping season,” according to a release from WHP.  The new location will feature “interactive experiences and product demonstrations” as well as a café, an ice cream shop and a two-story slide.

Toys R Us closed its last two stores in the U.S. in January, but in March, when WHP acquired the company, it said it planned to roll out new physical locations, according to CNBC. Toys R Us has been picking up steam since the summer, when WHP relaunched the toy store’s website through a partnership with Macy’s. The company also plans to open more than 400 Toys R Us shops inside of Macy’s locations starting next year, CNBC reported.

The 3M SF American Dream mall was walloped by the coronavirus pandemic, which caused the mall to shutter for six months this year, delaying store openings and leading the mall’s developer, Triple Five Group, to default on its loan. The mall is getting back on its feet after reopening in October, with expectations to hit 85% occupancy by the end of 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"American Dream is a one-of-a-kind unrivaled retail center featuring massive entertainment experiences that make it an ideal destination for families,” WHP Global and Toys R Us Chairman and CEO Yehuda Shmidman said in a statement. “Debuting our first Toys"R"Us flagship here is a no-brainer.” 

Retailers are planning to open more stores in 2021 than they are closing, marking a first since 2017, according to a report from retail data firm IHL Group. The findings suggest that retailers may be finding their footing as they balance online and in-person shopping, using physical locations as distribution centers and showrooms for products, the WSJ previously reported.