The beloved Toys R Us brand is back across America for 2022, with toy store sections open in almost all 451 Macy’s locations including Deptford and Cherry Hill.
I visited the Deptford Mall Macy’s store today which is located only 1000 feet from the original Deptford Toys R Us store!
The original Deptford Toys R Us location opened in 1981 and was soon followed by Cherry Hill.
As part of a company wide bankruptcy the Deptford Toys R Us closed in 2017. That building is now home to an Ocean State Job Lot store.
But now 5 years later, Toys R Us is back in Deptford NJ finding a new home at Macy’s on the first floor.
Today the Toy R Us partnership with Macy’s is more of a licensing deal, according to Forbes.com, but it’s a smart pairing to bring childlike fun and sales back to two iconic American retail names, which have a long history with toys and Christmas.
Well with it over 70 degrees today and approaching 80 this weekend in Philadelphia.. let’s talk toys and Christmas!
The Deptford Macy’s Toys R Us Experience
The new Toys R Us section of the Deptford Macy’s is located on the first floor, in the center section. It starts at the mall center court and goes back to the escalators.
Start your visit from the mall center court to experience the recently installed Toys R Us hanging sign, and the large Geoffrey Giraffe caricature statue with child sized bench… perfect for your Family Instagram photo.
Of course you shouldn’t be expecting the warehouse sized experience of the original store.
There is no massive video game section, or huge racks with bicycles and Power Wheels rechargeable cars.
But they do have a very good selection of toys in the store covering all of the key fun bases.
For those who are old enough to remember, think along the lines of KB-Toys which was also in the mall.
In terms of square footage, I’d say Macy’s Deptford has allocated much more space to Toys R Us than the old KB Toy store size. (Although KB Toys would stack toys up high on 8 foot tall shelves!)
Mixed into the Macy’s Toys R Us area are two sections of Christmas holiday items; decorations and Christmas trees. They alternate the sections as you move through; Toys, Christmas, Toys, Christmas, Toys
As mentioned the toys extended down to the escalators, where Lego building sets where on display around the apron of the escalators.
Besides Legos, I saw Barbie dolls and accessories, Blue’s Clue’s, Action Figures, Polly Pockets, Hot Wheels and even… A section of Disney toys!
So again don’t expect the mega-store experience.. I mean there is a lot to choose from but if you look at this with expectations of the former 45,000 square foot Toys R Us store that was across the street…
Well you get the point!
More games, more toys, Oh boy! Toys R Us
Well you obviously get the kids and toy connection with Toys R Us! Founded in 1948 they grew to have over 64,000 employees around the world!
They were called a “category killer” as they dominated Toy Sales in the USA, knocking out smaller competitors and even the toy sections of larger retailers.
At the height of Toys R Us sales and influence, toy manufacturers had no choice but to work hard to get their products into Toys R Us stores… or their product most certainly a failure.
My kids were young through the height of Toys R Us’ dominance of the 90s, right before internet sales started to take-off… and I got to see the power of the Giraffe first hand (Geoffrey Giraffe is the Toys R Us mascot)
During that time every holiday, every birthday, every special kids event… started with Toys R Us. They were just ingrained into the American family culture.
It was more than a store…it was a warehouse of fun. From bike and trains to video games, it was the biggest toy store there was! (See what I did there?)
But in the 2000s, new players came into the toy market such as Amazon and Walmart. To the surprise of many, the behemoth Toys R Us unraveled under mounting debt payments, and the toy retailer closed the majority of their stores in the late 2010s.
Down but not completely out, there is enormous worth to long lost but trusted names like Toys R Us and Radio Shack.
With the sad demise of the original Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores, WHP Global acquired a majority stake of the resultant Tru Kids company which includes those two brands.
Over the most recent few years Tru Kids has been building a comeback with Toys R Us, and while the Macy’s deal is one of their the biggest, reaching the largest number of American consumers… it’s far from their only move.
Shoppers can shop all of the latest toys at ToysRus.com
In December 2021 they opened a two-story flagship store in the American Dream mall in North Jersey, which at 20,000 sq ft features a huge variety of toys, a 2-story slide, and Geoffrey’s Cafe Ice Cream Parlor.
For 2022 the opened a 14,000 sq ft store in Herald Square New York, at the large Macy’s located there.
They also have several international deals signed to bring Toys R Us back globally.
They even opened a few Macy’s based Toys R Us stores last year, and with that success have expanded it to almost all Macy’s locations.
75 Years After the Miracle on 34th St, Macy’s (re)Enters the Game
Long before Toys R Us became a category-killer and the internet executed the “finishing move” on many toy retailers.. America shopped at Department stores. Massive department stores.
Sure we still have Macy’s and Boscov’s in Deptford (which are awesome) but 40 years ago it was a different world where even the Deptford Mall department stores had full restaurants and liquor licenses!
And in the big cities, the Department stores were at another level. 10 levels higher. A city of shopping within one building.
You can still experience that old school department store feeling today at the Macy’s in Center City this holiday season, but into the 1970s and 80s everything was just different.
Sure there were locally owned toy stores in every small town of America, but the Christmas wonderlands of every child’s dream existed in the big city department stores.
In center City Philadelphia there was John Wanamakers, Gimbels, Strawbridge and Clothier and Lit Brothers… four massive stores all within blocks of each other on Market St!
They each had amazing holiday displays to lure in the customers for the lucrative holiday shopping season, as well as massive toy departments.
I am old enough to remember ridding on the monorail rocket cars of Philadelphia’s Wanamakers store! They circled high above a massive toy area at the store (I understand those rocket cars are now at the Please Touch Museum).
And up in New York City the Queen of all Department stores was and still is… Macy’s.
Visiting Santa Claus at Macy’s New York goes back to 1861 when the first advertised that Santa came to the store and filled the counters with the finest gifts. They soon became known as “The Headquarters of Santa Claus”!
In 1924 they started the tradition of Santa arriving as part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
And in 1947 the classic American Movie “The Miracle on 34th Street” locked in Macy’s as the home of Santa Claus for all time.
“Santaland” became a large area of the store and in the 1970s the doubled the size of the permanent section.
A wonderful story and history right?
But the problem is, in the 400+ smaller Macy’s stores the toy aspect of the Christmas shopping season seemed to all-but disappeared into the 2010s and beyond. A big part of that was thanks to Toys R Us.
I personally can’t remember toys being sold at the Deptford Mall Macy’s for at least the last 10 years. Definitely not in any sizeable amount.
The two iconic Christmas brands have joined forces to bring toys back to the shopping malls of America.
Somewhat ironic as I would bet Toys R Us in its dominant years played a big part in Macy’s reducing their toy departments in local stores… bullying Macy’s around.
Now today, just like meeting up with that old High School bully… Macy’s has reached out and said “hey old buddy, let me give you a hand. Let’s give each other a hand.”
And so it begins. The Happy Holiday season is upon us.
Links and Locations
Macy’s Toys R Us – Deptford Mall
1750 Deptford Center Rd
Deptford, NJ 08096