>> As Toys R Us tries to emerge from bankruptcy, it's placing a new bet on experiential shopping. That includes so-called play labs at 42 stores, where kids can try out toys with their parents. But will it pay off? Reuters' Jessica DiNapoli visited one in Times Square.>> Toys R Us has always been viewed as a warehouse of toys for children.
But with this effort they're trying to mimic their smaller competitors, the locals, the independents that offer kids toys that they can play with, basically, all the time whenever the store is open. That's a different experience than shopping online, and Toys R Us is hoping to draw people into the stores with the snacks, with play lab coaches who will show kids toys.
>> Toys R Us defaulted on its debt and filed for bankruptcy last September as a growing number of customers turned away from its traditional brick and mortar stores. The company has now allocated more than $400 million out of the 3 billion it borrowed for its bankruptcy to spruce up its approximately 900 stores over the next three years.
With more such experiences and better paid staff to lure in shoppers. They also plan to close unprofitable locations and improve their website. For the 60-year-old company, the stakes for the play lab experiment are high.>> One of the risks are that the creditors, the people that Toys R Us owes money to in bankruptsy, they do not think this idea is going to solve all of Toys R Us's problems.
As Toys R Us tries to spend money on it, the creditors can go into court and ask the judge to not allow them to spend that money and to effectively halt their plans.>> The holiday shopping season, which accounts for 75% of all toy sales, is a key test of this new strategy.
And the company can only hope all their stores will be busy as this Times Square location this season.