The two remaining Toys R Us locations in the U.S. are closing about a year after the relaunch of the longtime brand.
Tru Kids Inc., a new entity that formed and bought the brand during a liquidation sale in 2018, opened locations in New Jersey and Texas in late 2019 but have permanently closed them this month because of the coronavirus pandemic, CNN reported.
“As a result of Covid-19, we made the strategic decision to pivot our store strategy to new locations and platforms that have better traffic,” a company spokesperson told CNN.
The store at the Galleria mall in Houston closed Jan. 15. The store at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, closed on Tuesday.
The Toys R Us website still works and 700 other stores outside of the U.S. remain open, CNN reported. The company operates branded stores and e-commerce websites in more than 25 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The reopened stores were smaller than the previous big box stores. They sold fewer toys and focused on a more interactive experience. Employees unwrapped toys so that kids could try them out. During a visit to the New Jersey location in 2019, kids shot Nerf blasters and sat in a circle for story time while Geoffrey, the chain’s mascot, roamed around. The plan was to open 10 locations in malls.
“As a result of COVID, we made the strategic decision to pivot our store strategy to new locations and platforms that have better traffic,” Tru Kids told The Associated Press by email Friday. “Consumer demand in the toy category and for Toys R Us remains strong and we will continue to invest in the channels where the customer wants to experience our brand.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Cox Media Group