Toys R Us to devote store space to play

Toys R Us is planning on revamping its stores to include play areas for kids. The retailer is looking to boost foot traffic after years of losing market share to rivals and discount chains.

The first prototype will open this year, according to an announcement by CEO Antonio Urcelay. The goal: Make the brick-and-mortar store a more exciting place for children than Walmart and Target, reported Bloomberg.

The new play areas will include more technology to interact with and additional floor space devoted to play. The idea is to compete with other retailers, who have undercut the toy store on prices without decreasing product prices.

"It has to be something where kids want to go and play," Urcelay told Bloomberg. "We have to reinforce that we are a specialist."

Urcelay has reduced the amount of discounting, and the results are beginning to show. Even though sales were down in the fourth quarter, the company's gross margin improved. And Urcelay is on a slow and steady path, predicting a turnaround will take one or two more years in order to bring the toy store back to basics.

Earlier this week, Urcelay announced a commitment to the TRU Transformation, a five-year strategic goal of strengthening the foundation of the company to increase revenue and profits.

The company planned to go public in 2013, but cancelled it and simultaneously replaced the previous CEO Gerald Storch.

For more:
-See this Bloomberg article

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