Who’s living in Geoffry’s House now? The Houston Galleria Toys ‘R Us Failure

Howdy folks! I know if you’re here than by now, you know what to expect mostly retail from my blog, but today’s topic is probably one you’re familiar with even if you don’t follow retail goings-on. The bankruptcy of Toys ‘R Us took almost everyone by surprise back in 2018 (can you believe it was 3 years ago?!). Not to reiterate the entire story, but the situation that landed TRU in bankruptcy put them in a strange situation where their parent company could continue to operate and a licensee and even owner for some of their foreign stores. Almost as quickly as Toys ‘R Us entered bankruptcy, their parent company announced plans for a new mall based version of a TRU store. While I did not get a chance to visit the store while it was operating, I did follow it closely. The new store wasn’t so much a cohesive toy store, as a brand showcase mixed with interactive experiences. While some merchandise was stocked and sold directly by TRU, most of the shelf space was rented to vendors. Two locations were opened, one in the Galleria, the other in a mall in New Jersey. In January 2021 both stores closed with very little press coverage, once again brining an end to Toys R Us in the U.S.

If you’re not from the Houston area, then you may be wondering who exactly Toyz is, and how they can get away with a rip-off TRU logo. Toyz, has been around for a few years with multiple mall toy store locations. I think they popped-up around the time K.B. Toys shutdown, and the stores were of a similar size. This location is by far the largest one I’ve seen, and when showing these photos to my friends we all remarked that this was by far the nicest location they had. How long Toyz is able to stay up here and utilize this decor, we’ll have to see. As of March, TRU has a new controlling owner, and is looking to reopen stores. While they probably won’t come back to the Galleria, I doubt they’ll let a knock off survive if they plan to establish a physical retail presence. Have you enjoyed today’s mall based content? Well then get ready for the Month of Malls, coming September!

2 comments

  1. I don’t know about originally, but the Galleria TRU was a Charlotte Russe just prior to becoming Toys ‘R Us. It was one of two Charlotte Russe stores in the area that I know of that did not reopen after their bankruptcy and brief closure in 2019 (the Memorial City Mall location ultimately became a Tilly’s).

    I thought that the new TRU concept was a good idea in general, the toy companies had long valued TRU as a showroom in addition to a sales engine and the brand never took the kind of damage most bankrupt retail brands do, it was just extremely poorly suited for COVID restrictions and concerns that they had no way of predicting. I’m amazed they left all of that decor up when they closed up.

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