KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback
Toys “R” Us is now a part of retail history. But a major competitor from big box retail’s past is planning a return in hopes of filling the void left by Toys “R” Us’s closure.
Elia Kassoff, president of Strategic Marks, the company that currently owns the KB Toys brand, announced on LinkedIn that the company would be accelerating existing plans to relaunch the toy chain’s online and brick-and-mortar presences because of the Toys “R” Us closure announcement. Mr. Kassoff wrote that KB Toys plans to have stores up and running before Christmas.
Strategic Marks’ brick-and-mortar launch is pegged on pop-ups, according to CNN Money. The company is planning 1,000 pop-ups for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season, after which it will decide which locations will remain permanent based on performance and lease availability.
Though competitive with Toys “R” Us for much of its history, the KB Toys brand was, in fact, bought by Toys “R” Us after the KB Toys store chain went officially defunct in 2009. The brand was, as CNBC reported, purchased by Strategic Marks in 2016.
Strategic Marks specializes in reviving old brands. Its website, retrodepartmentstores.com, lists ownership of eight defunct department store brands, including Joseph Magnin, Bullock’s and May Company.
The “About” section of retrodepartmentstores.com states that the plan is to eventually branch out with the brands listed into boutiques, exclusive apparel and, eventually, brick-and-mortar stores. It is not clear at present how far Strategic Marks has pursued plans for bringing these brands it owns back into the physical world.
Mr. Kassoff is also the CEO of Leaf Brands, a classic candy brand he revived in 2011.
Some big box-era retailers have had trouble with their new-millennium reboots.
For example, Circuit City, after years of chatter about impending relaunches since the brand came under new ownership in 2015, announced in January of this year an online and subsequent brick-and-mortar relaunch.
However, the morning after the scheduled February go-live date, news broke that the website had not launched due to an unexpected deluge of traffic. Since then, the website has displayed the same corporate page announcing something coming soon.
- WE’RE GOING TO SAVE THE TOY INDUSTRY! – LinkedIn
- KB Toys aims to fill the void of Toys ‘R’ Us – CNNMoney
- Retro Department Stores – retrodepartmentstores.com
- Can Circuit City come back from the dead? – RetailWire
- Circuit City – circuitycitycorporation.com
- Meet the Team – Leaf Brands
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will KB Toys have to do in order to successfully come back? Is the strategy of launching pop-ups during the holiday season a good first step to take?