NEW YORK (AP) – Toys R Us is pulling out again.
The only two Toys R Us stores that opened in November 2019 as part of a small US comeback attempt by the iconic toy chain are now closed.
The Toys R Us store on Houston’s Galleria Mall closed on January 15, while one at Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey closed on Tuesday, according to Tru Kids, a new entity that was formed when they Toys R Us intellectuals acquired property during its liquidation in 2018.
The moves come because physical stores, particularly locations in shopping malls, have been impacted by weak customer traffic amid the pandemic.
The Toys R Us website is still operational.
“As a result of COVID, we made the strategic decision to focus our business strategy on new locations and platforms with better traffic,” Tru Kids said in a statement emailed on Friday. “Consumer demand in the toy category and for Toys R Us remains. We will continue to invest in the channels in which customers want to experience our brand. “
The two shutters were roughly 6,500 square feet – about a seventh the size of the old Toys RU stores, and emphasized hands-on experience. For example, the staff unpacked toys so that the children could try them out.
During a visit to the New Jersey store in late 2019, kids shot at Nerf blasters and sat in circles telling stories while Geoffrey, the chain’s mascot, prowled around. Such experiences are now being avoided at a time when buyers have to adhere to socially distant rules.
Tru Kids said it operates Toys R Us and Babies R Us branded stores and e-commerce websites through license partners in more than 25 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Bloomberg News first reported the store closings.
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