After eight months of bankruptcy protection, Toys ‘R’ Us Canada is open for business and ready for a new start.
Melanie Teed-Murch, the president of Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us Canada, wants people to know that the company is alive and well despite the demise of its parent U.S. operations last month. She also assures Canadians that it is 100-per-cent Canadian owned and operated, with over 4,000 Canadian staff and 82 stores nationwide.
With many looking to #BuyCanadian amid the current political climate, Canadians can safely add Toys ‘R’ Us Canada to their list of trusted Canadian brands.
“We look forward to building for the long term and allowing the Toys ‘R’ Us team in Canada to reinvest in the business instead of the past history of just sending earnings to the U.S.,” said Prem Watsa, the chief executive of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., a long-term partner for Toys ‘R’ Us Canada.
The company was forced to file for protection last September when its U.S. parent filed for Chapter 11 because the both shared a credit facility. Its Canadian operations had a very dull 2016 holiday season, as many people made the shift to online retail. Millennial parents, who are the toy store’s biggest customers, were turning to services like Amazon and eBay for their shopping needs, even though Toys ‘R’ Us Canada had its own e-commerce services at the time.
Moving forward, Toys ‘R’ Us Canada is looking to increase its appeal to millennial parents by implementing more modern and experiential shopping services. The Financial Post says it will look to add activities that “encourage people to make a mall visit rather than shop on their laptops or cellphones.”
There’s a chance Toys ‘R’ Us Canada stores could take on more of an Indigo Books, Ikea or Cineplex-style concept, with interactive play areas for kids, in-store food-service and birthday parties, themed events, and workshops in fitness, child development and science and learning.
“We are going to pilot a number of test-and-learn strategies that are really exciting. There is lots of opportunity to put in food and beverage and other partnerships where we can bring children and families together in our locations,” said Teed-Murch.