New York-based brand management company WHP Global announced on Monday that it has acquired a controlling interest in American retailer Tru Kids Inc., the parent company of the TOYS R US brand.
The company plans to open flagships, pop-ups, airport shops, or mini-stores within other retailers, across North America ahead of 2021’s holiday season.
WHP became the majority shareholder in Tru Kids Inc., parent company to TOYS R US, Babies”R”Us, Geoffrey the Giraffe brands, and 20 other toy and baby brands. According to the chairman and CEO of WHP Yehuda Shmidman, the company is “taking the reins of the world’s leading toy brand at a time when the category is up 16% and consumer demand for toys is at an all-time high.”
TOYS R US stores in Canada, Japan, and several parts of Asia are still operational, with 900 branded stores across 25 countries generating an annual $2 billion in retail sales, according to the company.
TOYS R US‘ previous holding company Geoffrey LLC transferred all its assets to existing secured lenders and launched a new toy wholesale venture named Geoffrey’s Toy Box, keeping the TOYS R US brand’s “Geoffrey” mascot, as well as the corporate brand names and intellectual properties of the company in 2018.
TOYS R US sold or closed all of its remaining stores in the United States earlier in 2018, and sold its operations in Canada, Central Europe, and Asia.
The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2017. The company’s Chief Executive David Brandon stated that the retail chain’s earnings in 2017 amounted to “less than half” of the US$600 million it typically earns in a year.
The company struggled to remain afloat after a buyout by equity firms KKR & Co. and Bain Capital, and real estate investment company Vornado Realty Trust in 2005. The buyout put a US$5.3 billion debt on the company.