Toys R Us set to open 2 stores as part of major comeback

Toys R Us is hoping to bring some joy to the holiday season with two new permanent stores as part of its major comeback after shuttering more than 700 stores in the U.S. in 2018.

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The retailer announced Thursday it will be opening two locations in November — one in The Galleria in Houston, Tex., and another in Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. The stores, as part of a joint venture b8ta, will be carefully curated to give shoppers a new experience in a smaller-format space, spanning about 6,500 square feet compared to some of its past locations that were about 30,000 square feet.

Toys“R”Us' new store will be about 6,500 square feet — a fraction of the brand's former big box stores, which were about 30,000 square feet. (Toys R Us)

"We have an incredible opportunity to entirely reimagine the Toys R Us brand in the U.S. and are thrilled to partner with b8ta and key toy vendors to create a new, highly-engaging retail experience designed for kids, families and to better fit within today's retail environment,” Richard Barry, Tru Kids CEO and new Toys R Us joint venture’s interim co-CEO, said in a news release.

Some new store features include a section for parents and children to test out toys before making a purchase, interactive stations and an open play space with Geoffrey the Giraffe for photo-ops. The company hopes the new locations will be “must-visit” destinations for parents and their children.

"Ready to play? We're SO excited to announce our partnership with b8ta to bring back Toys"R"Us! A reimagined, playful, just-gotta-see-it experience is on the way. Visit http://toysrus.com  to learn more about our bold step, skip and hop towards a #newwaytoplay!" the retailer wrote on Twitter to announce the new locations Thursday.

Tru Kids Brands, the parent company of Toys R Us, hopes the Houston and Paramus locations are just the start, CNBC reported. The company said it plans to open 10 stores in the U.S. in 2020, with the possibility of 10,000-square-foot flagship landing in New York or California.

Toys R Us has been working to make its comeback after it shut down all of its U.S. locations in 2018. The retailer, buckling under pressure from Amazon and several billions of dollars of debt, liquidated its U.S. business as well as other regions months after filing for Chapter 11 reorganization in the fall of 2017.

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Barry said more details about the stores will be announced in the coming weeks, including an added online experience.

"We think that this is going to be scalable, and we think we can grow the business over time," said Barry.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.