Toys ‘R’ Us to Add 30 New UK Shop-in-Shops via Expanded Partnership with WHSmith

A Toys 'R' Us shop-in-shop at WHSmith in the UK.

A little less than one year after Toys ‘R’ Us made its return to the world of UK brick-and-mortar via nine shop-in-shops in WHSmith stores, TRU parent company WHP Global has announced plans to expand the partnership and add 30 new locations by this summer.

A Toys 'R' Us shop-in-shop at WHSmith in the UK.
Image courtesy WHP Global

WHSmith’s High Street stores will now serve as the exclusive long-term shop-in-shop partner for Toys ‘R’ Us in the UK. Locations and opening dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Our customers have been delighted by the launch of Toys ‘R’ Us in WHSmith stores, so we are excited to have signed a new exclusive agreement which extends our partnership with the brand,” said Sean Toal, Managing Director at WHSmith High Street in a statement. “We look forward to bringing the magic of Toys ‘R’ Us to even more WHSmith customers across the UK.”

This UK partnership follows a similar reintroduction of the Toys ‘R’ Us brand in the U.S., which began with the opening of a 20,000-square-foot flagship store at New Jersey’s American Dream mall, followed by the debut of Toys ‘R’ Us shop-in-shops at Macy’s in 2022. Sister brand Babies ‘R’ Us has followed the same playbook, with a debut at American Dream followed by a shop-in-shop partnership with Kohl’s announced just last month.

“We’ve got off to a great start with the introduction of Toys ‘R’ Us shops within WHSmith locations,” said Stanley Silverstein, Chief Commercial Officer at WHP Global in a statement. “We are thrilled to strengthen our relationship with WHSmith and expand the reach of Toys ‘R’ Us to more locations across the UK. This aligns perfectly with our overarching strategy to grow the Toys ‘R’ Us brand in the UK through diverse channels including flagship stores, ecommerce and travel retail, ensuring accessibility and convenience for the next generation of Toys ‘R’ Us kids.”

The rollout of Toys ‘R’ Us in the U.S. gives a glimpse of what may be in store for the UK: Now that the Toys ‘R’ Us brand has been reestablished in the U.S. via its presence at Macy’s, WHP has set its sights on launching a series of standalone flagships across the U.S. in a partnership with Go! Retail Group, as well to cruise ship and airport locations. The brand’s second mall-based flagship opened in Minnesota’s Mall of America late last year, as did its first airport store at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport via a partnership with Duty Free Americas.

WHP acquired the Toys ‘R’ and Babies ‘R’ Us brands in March 2021 after the chain’s 2018 bankruptcy and subsequent shuttering of its stores. The relatively new brand management firm has made a name for itself with the revival of Toys ‘R’ and Babies ‘R’ Us, and is now leveraging that profile to do the same for similar brands. After entering a joint venture partnership with beleaguered fashion retailer Express in December 2022, the partners announced earlier this month that WHP would be taking majority ownership of the Express brand.