Toys “R” Us Inc., looking to get its turnaround plan back on track with a big holiday season, will open a temporary shop in New York’s Times Square almost two years after abandoning the tourist district.
The 35,000-square-foot (3,300-square-meter) store will open this month in the Knickerbocker Building on Broadway near 42nd Street, the toy giant said Thursday. The previous Times Square location closed at the end of 2015.
Toys “R” Us looks to bounce back from a disappointing Christmas season in 2016. Same-store sales dropped 2.5 percent during the final nine weeks of last year, hurt by sluggish demand and deep discounts.
The new Times Square store will help promote Toys “R” Us’s online-ordering service, which lets customers pick out products on the internet and then fetch them in person. It also will have a scaled-down animatronic dinosaur, a hat tip to the giant Tyrannosaurus rex that loomed over a floor of the original store.
Toys “R” Us has been a challenging case for private equity owners Bain Capital, KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust, which loaded the retailer with debt in a $7.5 billion buyout more than a decade ago. Last year, the chain extended maturities on some of its borrowings, giving it more time to execute Chief Executive Officer Dave Brandon’s plan. As part of his turnaround effort, he’s looking to spruce up stores with more experiences.
In that vein, the Times Square location will feature play areas with out-of-the-box products and toy demos.