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The other month we told you how Toy's R' Us was planning on making it's return after closing all it's stores earlier this year and that they had re-branded themselves as Geoffrey's Toy Box. While we knew the plan at least starting this year was to open a number of pop-up stores within larger retail outlets that don't normally sell a huge amount of toys, and that the retailer would be somewhere in the midwest, we were expecting something a little bigger than this... So apparently the midwest retailer Toys R' Us or Geoffrey I should say has teamed up with is the grocery chain Krogers. You can see from the image above that its less of a store and more of an actual box placed in one of the store isles though. It's unclear if Geoffrey will have a larger presence in some stores over other or if they will show up at any other retailers, but based on this image the comeback seems less than stellar here.
Last week we told you how the newly revamped Toys R' Us, now known as Geoffrey's Toy Box had been spotted popping up in Kroger grocery stores. It was revealed in early October that the inventors who owned Toys R' Us decided not to kill off the chain completely at the last minute, even after closing all their stores here in the United States. The new plan, at least initially was to team up with a mid-western retailer(s) and open pop-up stores within the larger retail outlets and sell their toys. While many toy-fans cheered on this news, Some former employee's seemed less happy about the news because they feared it would nullify their chances of getting any kind of severance package from their former employee, which is still something that seems to be up in the air. Never-the-less, last week we began to see Geoffrey's plans take fruition as actual box type displays started pooping up in the aisles of Kroger stores as well as other Kroger-owned business' such as Fred Meyers and Ralphs. With that, we now have an official announcement put out by Kroger sharing more details about their plans which seems to include having the toy retailer appear in over 600 Kroger-family stores. Official Press Release: Kroger, America's largest grocery retailer, announced today a partnership to bring Geoffrey's Toy Box exclusive brands to nearly 600 Kroger Family of Stores across America for the 2018 holiday season. Starting this month, Geoffrey's Toy Box branded merchandise and displays will appear in participating Kroger Family of Stores with a selection of 35 children's toys, ranging in price from $19.99 to $49.99. The holiday program will feature exclusive toys from Animal Zone®, Imaginarium®, Journey Girls®, Edu Science®, You & Me®, and Just Like Home®. Product assortment will vary by location. "Geoffrey's Toy Box delivers a unique shopping destination within Kroger stores," said Robert Clark, Kroger's senior vice president of merchandising. "We're excited to offer Geoffrey's Toy Box this holiday season to provide our customers with the opportunity to purchase a selection of toys once exclusive to Toys "R" Us." "We are thrilled to partner with Kroger to bring a curated collection of product from our beloved portfolio of brands to American consumers this holiday," added Richard Barry, EVP at Geoffrey's Toy Box. If you want to see a full list off all the stores that will feature Geoffrey's Toy Box, check out the 13 page list below in our GALLERY. Now some things to note. 1. The image Kroger provided (See below) of one of their stores featuring Geoffrey's Toy Box is far more impressive looking than the images we have seen people posting on social media. Some like what we saw in last week's story are just downright pathetic if you ask me. If YOU happen to come across a store that looks similar to the image Kroger put out, PLEASE TAKE A PICTURE and post it in the comments below. 2. While this whole Pop-Up store thing is likely being done so Toys R' Us can have some type of presence in place for this holiday season which is the most important time of the year for a toy retailer, it might not be the only thing they have planned as far as making a return here in the US is concerned. After we ran the initial story last week about Geoffrey appearing in Kroger stores, we had some folks let us know they have seen recent indications that Geoffrey might be reopening some of it's own stores. While not officially confirmed in any way, we have been told that Toys R' Us still owns most of their now empty Toys R' Us buildings and have begun taking steps like having safety inspections performed on them with the idea that at some point they would be re-opened. If this happened, it likely would be after the holiday season, hence the need for the pop-up stores now. Again we have to stress that this has not been confirmed officially with anyone within Toys R' Us nor do we know what that means for former employee's of the former great toy retailer, but one thing does seem certain. We definetly have not seen the last of Geoffrey or his toys.
Following our story from the other week, it looks like Toys R' Us is already poised for making a comeback here in the United States after just a few months ago declaring bankruptcy and closing all their US based stores. So last week we told you how it looked as if the Toys R' Us controlling lenders had a last minute change of heart about selling off all the companies assets because they decided the brand was just to valuable. Toys R' Us that same day released a press release posted on their website which says the following: "Geoffrey, LLC, Toys “R” Us, Inc.’s intellectual property holding company subsidiary, announced today that it is moving forward with a plan for substantially all of its assets to be acquired by a group of investors led by Geoffrey, LLC’s existing secured lenders. The announcement was made following a five month marketing effort by Boston-based Consensus, an investment bank retained to market the assets of Geoffrey, LLC, that resulted in several formal and informal proposals to acquire the intellectual property assets. After considering such proposals, it was determined that the proposal from the existing term lenders was meaningfully higher and better than any other global bid or the sum of the bids received on individual assets. The transition of the business to its new owners is pending approval of the United States Bankruptcy Court and all major creditor constituencies are supportive. Geoffrey, LLC thanks all parties that participated in discussions with the company over the prior months, particularly those that submitted proposals, for their thoughtful and diligent engagement. Geoffrey, LLC, as reorganized, will control a portfolio of intellectual property that includes trademarks, ecommerce assets and data associated with the Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us businesses in the United States and all over the world, including a portfolio of over 20 well-known toy and baby brands such as Imaginarium, Koala Baby, Fastlane and Journey Girls. The reorganized company will own rights to the Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us brands in all markets globally, with the exception of Canada. It will also become the licensor of the brands to the company’s existing network of franchisees operating in countries across Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and in South Africa. In addition to continuing to service these markets, the new owners are actively working with potential partners to develop ideas for new Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores in the United States and abroad that could bring back these iconic brands in a new and re-imagined way. Geoffrey LLC will provide additional detail on this front as it becomes available." Then last Tuesday Geoffrey, the Toys R' Us mascot turned up at the annual Dallas Toy Preview show wearing a cape that said back from vacation. and having a booth called Geoffrey's Toy Box. On the Dallas Toy Preview show website there is a description for Geoffrey's Toy Box which reads as follows: "Wholesale toy distributor and intellectual property company whose focus is on popular play patterns across trusted brands that kids and parents love. Geoffrey's Toy Box is a fully outfitted organization with design, development and global sourcing expertise. Portfolio includes popular brands like Journey Girls, Fastlane, True Heroes, You & Me, Imaginarium, Just like Home and more!" According to various reports, the Geoffrey's Toy Box reps who were at the Dallas show were telling folks their plan is to open consumer locations under the Toy Box name by November of this year. These will be done as a “shop-within-a-shop” concept where at least initially they will partner with prominent midwest retailers. In other words they will be opening for the holidays mini-locations within larger retail stores that might not normally sell much in the way of toys. This is similar to the plan we heard several months ago when Toys R' Us first went under about KB Toys trying to make a return. Other retailers such as Party City have also indicated they will be implementing similar strategies as they all try and fill the toy store void during this busy holiday shopping season. The big question however remains, will any of them really be able to compete against the likes of Walmart and Amazon?