“Business is good,” said Melanie Teed-Murch, president of Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us Canada.
She was being interviewed in the Langley Toys “R” Us store, a few weeks after a deal was completed to keep the Canadian chain of toy stores in business despite the shutdown of the U.S. parent company of the same name.
“They (Toys “R” Us in the U.S) closed their door on June 29 and it is no more,” she said.
Since then, Teed-Murch said, some former shoppers of the American stores have been coming north.
“We have lots of U.S. customers writing to us and crossing borders (to shop).”
On June 1, Toys “R” Us (Canada) Ltd. closed a deal with Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. to buy the chain, which operates over 80 stores and employs more than 4,000 people.
“We’re Canadian owned and operated,” Teed-Murch said.
“We’re here to play and we’re here to stay.”
Among Canadian customers, there has been some confusion about the fate of the two chains, Teed-Murch said, stressing the Canadian stores are doing well.
“The financial situation is bright,” she said.
“(The fact that) we’ll be reinvesting in our stores is what Canadian customers need to know.”
The Langley store happens to be the first new-concept store opened by Toys “R” Us Canada, a “customer centric”layout that will be applied to 40 other stores in coming weeks, Teed-Murch said.
The format includes dedicated play areas, interactive stations for kids and mobile pay, part of an “omnichannel strategy” to connect to customers wherever, whenever and however they want through the chain’s online webstore, mobile and store shopping experience.
“It’s onwards and upwards,” Teed-Murch says.
In announcing the deal with Fairfax Financial, the Canadian chain said it remained committed to its philanthropic initiatives, such as the Starlight Dashes across Canada where seriously ill children from the Starlight Children’s Foundation get three minutes to race around the store and fill their carts with toys.
When Toys “R” Us in the States announced it was looking to sell off its Canadian subsidiary as part of its bankruptcy proceeding, Toys “R” Us Canada issued a statement that its business was managed in Canada, operated autonomously from the U.S. operations, and had a “strong cash and liquidity position.”
All customer programs like Baby Registry, “R”Club loyalty and wish list continued to operate.
Gift cards purchased in Canada can be redeemed anytime online and in any store location across the country.
This summer, the company is hosting free outdoor play activities for the whole family in their store parking lots with complimentary snacks and giveaways.
The Langley store will host the event on Aug. 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Willowbrook Shopping Centre, 19705 Fraser Highway.