Signage is displayed outside a Toys R Us Inc. retail store in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg
E-commerce firm Flipkart Group’s wholesale entity in India and Ace Turtle, an omnichannel enablement platform, on Tuesday, said a joint venture company set up by them has secured licensing rights for toy and baby brands Toys“R”Us (TRU) and Babies“R”Us (BRU) in the country.
This has been done through an arrangement with WHP Global, the controlling shareholder of Toys“R”Us. With this, both the brands will now be available to consumers online through sellers in India.
Walmart-backed Flipkart Group will now compete with Reliance Brands that owns premium toy chain Hamleys.
Flipkart said it will utilize its reach and expertise in technology and customer experiences, coupled with Ace Turtle’s omnichannel technology, enabling buy-online and ship from store or pick up from store, endless-aisle, and other technological innovations.
The collective expertise of Flipkart and Ace Turtle establishes them as the partner of choice for Toys“R”Us’s business growth in India, the companies said.
In the last few years, the selection of products under the toys and games category on Flipkart has grown significantly. In 2020, the marketplace recorded growth of close to 100%, with consumers shopping online for their toys and baby care needs as they stayed indoors.
“As a homegrown platform, we are constantly striving to build meaningful partnerships that are centred around the needs of our users. With the Toys“R”Us global standard of quality, Indian consumers will now have access to many toys and baby care products,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart Group.
“This partnership with Ace Turtle and WHP Global will see both firms bringing the best of their domain knowledge and expertise to innovate and provide customer-centric product selections that have value and quality at the core. In addition, we believe this partnership will encourage efforts to grow the toy manufacturing industry in India,” he added.
Nitin Chhabra, CEO, Ace Turtle, said, “…Flipkart Group, India’s leading omnichannel enablement platform – Ace Turtle and the world’s leading toy brand, Toys“R”Us, are coming together to deliver future-ready consumer experience across online to offline. It’s a win-win for Indian consumers.”
Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us generate over $2 billion in global retail sales annually through nearly 900 branded stores and e-commerce businesses in 25 countries.
“We are excited by the tremendous potential of this new partnership, as India is one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the world with real spending power among a rapidly growing population. We look forward to working closely with Flipkart and the Ace Turtle team to build Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us into the leading destination for toy and baby products in India,” said Yehuda Shmidman, chairman and CEO, WHP Global and Toys“R”Us.
To be sure, in October 2017, Toys“R”Us entered India with Tablez India, the retail arm of UAE-based LuLu Group, that worked as its exclusive master franchisee to open stores in the country. The move came after the toy retailer filed for bankruptcy in the United States after reporting decline in sales and mounting debt.
According to a news report by CNBC-TV18, Tru Kids bought the brands and intellectual property from Toys“R”Us in September 2017.
In March 2021, WHP Global acquired a majority stake in Tru Kids Inc., the parent company of Toys”R”Us, Babies”R”Us, Geoffrey the Giraffe brands.
It was not clear immediately whether existing retail stores of Toys“R”Us will cease to operate in India.