Toys ‘R’ Us set to unveil a pop-up store ahead of holiday

More games, more toys, oh boy. Toys ‘R’ Us appears to be making a long-awaited comeback.

Parents missing the former brick-and-mortar shopping experience held by the former toy store giant won’t have to look much further this holiday season.

Macy’s is the latest to join in on the pop-up, “store-within-a-store” concept. The major department store chain and WHP Global, Toys ‘R’ Us’ parent company, announced a new partnership on July 18 that will eventually launch pop-up shops at every Macy’s store nationally. Macy’s at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall is expected to gain its Toys ‘R’ Us pop-up store on the upper level, near the children’s department, in a couple of weeks, Sherry Smith, the mall’s marketing administrator, told Wednesday.

Nationally, Macy’s is expected to begin unveiling Toys ‘R’ Us pop-up sites starting this month with more rolling openings through Oct. 15, according to the release.

The new Toys ‘R’ Us stores will range from 1,000 square feet to up to 10,000 square feet at flagship locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. Store footprints may flex up to an additional 500 to 3,000 square feet during the holiday season, Macy’s representatives say.

Representatives noted in the release Toys R Us’ brand will come to life in-store with playful colored fixtures, as well as hands-on demonstration tables for patrons to interact with various toy assortments. There’ll also be a life-sized “Geoffrey on a Bench” photo opportunity for families.

To celebrate the grand opening of the pop-up sites, Macy’s stores are planning nine days of in-store events from Oct. 15-Oct. 23. This will include family-friendly activities and daily giveaways, according to the release.

The region lost two Toys ‘R’ Us locations following a March 2018 announcement that the toy store chain, along with Babies ‘R’ Us, would be liquidating all its inventory in all 735 of its U.S. stores, including stores in Puerto Rico. Stores shuttered in Whitehall near the Lehigh Valley Mall and in Pohatcong Township.

The Toys ‘R’ Us across Grape Street from the mall reportedly was purchased by Carpet & Tile Mart and its Babies ‘R” Us space was later filled by arts and crafts giant Michaels. The Toys ‘R’ Us site in Pohatcong recently was filled by Tractor Supply Co.

Since the closures, the Toys ‘R Us brand has survived through and online shopping sales.

Some retail analysts say pop-up shops began a few years back as a way to help boost sales and “buy time” as shopping destinations and brands work to reinvent themselves. After closing 60 stores in North America, including at Lehigh Valley Mall, the Disney store began partnering with Target to add the “Disney Store at Target.” An Ulta Beauty-Target partnership began in August 2021. Additionally, Sephora is moving into national and some regional Kohl’s department stores.

The concept seems to be working well already for Macy’s.

Macy’s reported earnings for the first quarter of 2022 with toy sales 15 times higher than the comparable period prior to the Toys ‘R’ Us partnership.

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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at [email protected].