Toys”R”Us unveils plans to open its first U.S. flagship store at American Dream in East Rutherford. — Courtesy: WHP Global
By Tina Traster
The new owner of the iconic Toys R Us brand has opened its first U.S. flagship store inside American Dream, the sprawling retail and entertainment complex in East Rutherford.
According to WHP Global, the retailer’s parent company, the destination features a two-level concept spanning 20,000 square feet. It will be reminiscent of the toy store’s brand where visitors are met by mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe and engage in interactive experiences and product demonstrations.
Now open, the store is also steps from Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park and DreamWorks Water Park, part of the epicenter of American Dream’s entertainment, shopping and dining options. The space will have extended hours for the 2021 holiday shopping season, with plans also calling for branded elements like Geoffrey’s Café and ice cream parlor and a two-story slide.
“American Dream is a one-of-a-kind unrivaled retail center featuring massive entertainment experiences that make it an ideal destination for families,” said Yehuda Shmidman, WHP Global and Toys R Us chairman and CEO. “Debuting our first Toys R Us flagship here is a no-brainer. The Toys R Us brand is big and growing fast.”
The American Dream location marks the return of a standalone flagship store for the toy brand in the U.S., following a decline fueled by competition from e-commerce and a crushing debt burden. That forced the company, which had been based in Wayne, to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017, giving way to WHP’s purchase of Toys R Us and its affiliated brands earlier this year.
The announcement follows the opening of Toys R Us’ digital flagship store this year, along with more than 400 shop-in-shops slated to open in Macy’s stores nationwide starting in 2022. Shmidman said the company has more than 900 stores and e-commerce sites operating across 25 countries outside the U.S. and that its expansion plans domestically “are in high gear, propelling us into the next chapter of growth for our global brand.”
“Toys R Us sparks the same feeling of joy across multiple age groups,” said Don Ghermezian, CEO of American Dream. “This powerful brand is the perfect addition to American Dream’s all-star lineup of entertainment properties and attractions. We’re thrilled to partner with WHP Global and Toys”R”Us to bring this project to life.”
Tina Traster is a freelance writer and the editor of Rockland County Business Journal. She is also a former business writer for Crain’s New York Business, real estate writer for the New York Post and staffer at the Bergen Record.