Remember how terrible it was when Toys ‘R’ Us closed up their doors for good, leaving a huge gap in the brick and mortar toy store universe? Back when that was happening, a beacon of light shone through briefly, when KB Toys was announced as making a comeback. Well, it’s been quite some time and still no news on where the heck they are. Today, we have an update.
According to a report from the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, KB Toys is still in limbo due to lack of financing. The company is seeking an investment bank for help in raising funding, as CEO Ellia Kassoff was quoted. However, they have been forced to scale back after failing to open any of the 1,000 temporary stores it had proposed for last year, which would have launched during the holiday season.
“The toy companies had lots of conflicts of interest” that prevented them from investing in the KB given that they sell to other retailers and mall operators don’t typically invest in prospective tenants,” Kassoff said. “It is taking a while to get this done and build out a strategy. Once we get the money together we will be off and running.”
According to LIMA, the plan for now is to secure short-term leases for temporary KB stores so that locations and sales volumes can be tested during both holiday and non-holiday periods. It will open both smaller mall-based locations and larger freestanding stores similar in size to Toys R Us, whose stores averaged around 32,000-sq.-ft.
“The idea is to create temporary locations where we can try out the market and see how it goes, and if we are successful turn it into a permanent location,” says Kassoff. “If it is not successful, we will close it and move to another location.”
KB Toys initially closed back in 2008, and announced their reboot in 2016.