5 retailers, businesses likely to take over empty Toys ‘R’ Us stores

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Toys R Us To Close All U.S. Stores

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Retailers, entertainment companies and fitness centers are looking at filling vacant Toys “R” Us stores.

The Wall Street Journal reported that discount stores and entertainment companies are particularly interested in empty Toys "R" Us stores. The toy retailer closed more than 700 stores in the U.S. last week after filing bankruptcy earlier in the year. Larger empty big-box storefronts will be filled by hobby stores soon, Conor Flynn, chief executive of Kimco RealtyCorp., told the WSJ. 

The retailer had more than 20 locations in Ohio. 

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Here are five things that could take over empty Toys “R” Us stores:

1. Hobby Lobby

“Hobby Lobby especially is very aggressive,” in that space, Flynn said at the Jefferies Global Consumer Conference in Nantucket, Mass.

2. Burlington Stores 

The store is looing at expansion after changing its business model. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, the company opened 24, 28 and 30 stores. In fiscal 2017, the company announced plans to open 37 new stores.

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3. Entertainment companies

Trampoline parks and other entertainment concepts are filling vacant tenant spaces as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to find a way to fight online shopping trends. These types of entertainment businesses are popping up as malls and shopping centers fight to stay relevant. Why? Consumers want an active experience when they go to retail mixed-use concepts now. Malls will have to get creative and many may not have much time, retail experts say.

4. Discount stores

Andrew Feinblatt of Cincinnati-based OnSite Retail Group, said he doesn’t think it’s a hopeless situation for local shopping centers. Retailers, especially discount ones like At Home and T.J.Maxx, are still expanding in large spaces. Malls are “being proactive,” trying to bring in more food, drink and entertainment options at their centers, he said.

5. Grocers, fitness centers 

Flynn also said “traditional grocers, the larger fitness players—those really are the stores that continue to want to expand in that category.”


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