Babies”R”Us has launched two first-of-its-kind standalone stores in Canada as its sister brand Toys”R”Us expands as well by an additional eight stores in the country.
The two new stores for Babies”R”Us have opened in Edmonton.
“I believe the Canadian consumer is looking to get out and shop in-store again. I see such a strong opportunity to invest in Canadian retail. Our recent lease acquisitions allows us to re-enter markets we were previously in, reach markets where we don’t have a presence, or, where we see potential to meet a greater demand,” said Doug Putman, of Putman Investments, the company which operates the two brands as well as the new concept rooms + spaces, which launched this summer.
Earlier this year, Putman purchased a number of the leases that were previously held by retailer Bed Bath and Beyond and buybuyBABY which exited the market.
The new Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us stores are located in the following cities:
- Burnaby: Station Square, 6200 McKay Avenue (now open!)
- Kamloops: Columbia Square, 500 Notre Dame Drive (now open!)
- Edmonton: South Edmonton Common, 2017 98th Street NW (Babies”R”Us stand alone, now open!)
- Edmonton: West Edmonton Mall, 8882 170 Street NW (Babies”R”Us stand alone, now open!)
- Calgary: Brentwood Village, 3630 Brentwood Road (opening in October)
- Calgary: Township Centre, 80 Longview Common SE (now open!)
- Nepean: Barrhaven, 3777 Strandherd Drive (now open!)
- Toronto: Lawrence and Allen Center, 700 Lawrence Avenue West (opening in October)
- Lachenaie: 790 Montée des Pionniers (opening in October)
- Halifax: Bayer’s Lake Power Centre, 208 Chain Lake Drive (now open!)
The company said the expansion totals more than 300,000-square-feet of retail space and brings the toy retailer to 105 locations across the country, including a number that are located as shop-in-shops in all the rooms + spaces stores.
Nick Muriella, Vice President of Merchandising & Supply Chain for Babies”R”Us and Toys”R”Us, said Babies”R”Us has always been an important brand for the company throughout the years it has been in Canada.
“If you look back on our history, the U.S. entity and some of the global partners always had these standalone stores. Now Toys”R”Us pioneered the side-by-side store years and years ago,” said Muriella. “But as we started to look at the landscape and said listen, Bed, Bath and Beyond with buybuyBABY thrived as a standalone entity’.
“As we talked to moms through our store, we started to understand a little bit further about what they wanted in terms of a look and feel and the level of service and obviously with this real estate that Putman’s been able to get for us, it opened up that opportunity where that consumer was used to shopping at a baby standalone store. We’ve got a great brand with a great product assortment with great staff.
“We thought it was the time to kind of branch out and really give this standalone proposition a fair shake.”
Muriella said Edmonton is one of the company’s strongest markets across the country.
“We’ve got some great Toys”R”Us, Babies”R”Us stores there. The real estate also allowed us to have a captive market to really talk from a marketing perspective, from a launch perspective, to talk to one market specifically versus an entire country as we work through opening up the new part of the chain,” he said.
The Babies”R”Us stores in Edmonton are about 22,000 square feet. Both are in former buybuyBABY locations.
All the new Toys”R”Us locations are also in the real estate Putman acquired with the exception of the Lawrence and Allen location in Toronto. Toys”R”Us stores are in the 22,000 to 30,000-square-foot range.
“We’re excited about what we’ve got started here. I think there’s some optimization that has to happen with assortment and service. So we’re going to see how this goes the back half of the year but it’s definitely on our road map. We’ve got some markets circled as to where we want to pop some of these in the future.”
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