The Toys R Us (TRU) and Babies R Us (BRU) businesses will be returning to Australia and debuting in New Zealand this month, in partnership with Australian retailer, Hobby Warehouse.

Hobby Warehouse has been granted an exclusive licensing partnership with TRU, which will see Hobby Warehouse sell through the URLs and for Australia and New Zealand. Hobby Warehouse will sell many popular toy brands through the sites, as well as TRU's house brands including Imaginarium and Journey Girls.

Hobby Warehouse will initially launch the businesses online with same-day delivery availble in Melbourne metro areas with plans to expand this to other metro centres around Australia and New Zealand.

In 2020, Hobby Warehouse plans to launch physical TRU and BRU 'experience centres' moving away from the big-box format which contributed to TRU's demise.

Chief executive at Hobby Warehouse, Louis Mittoni, said that the business is thrilled to bring the TRU and BRU businesses back Down Under.

"We are delighted to bring the much-loved brands of TRU and BRU back to Australia and to introduce them to New Zealand.

"We believe play is extremely important in the development and wellbeing of children and in their interaction with family and friends. Play enables children to develop their imagination, collaborate, problem solve, explore, create or simply express themselves spontaneously.

"Our mission is to encourage children to engage with as many forms of play as we possibly can. Hobby Warehouse is a digital native with a keen understanding of how to accelerate and match the requirements of the modern shopper," he said.

The management team at Hobby warehouse negotiated with Tru Kids - TRU's parent company - to secure the licensing deal.

"Previously, the TRU and BRU business model in Australia was focused primarily on large, physical retail stores which had high fixed costs and extended periods of relatively low sales due to seasonal factors," Hobby Warehouse commercial advisor, Kevin Moore said.

"Going forward, the business model for Australia and New Zealand will be online focused, with smaller and fewer physical ‘experience centres’ that allow children and their families and friends to see and touch our products."

Tru Kids executive VP of global licensing and general counsel, James Young said that Hobby Warehouse will help to modernise the TRU and BRU experience in the Southern Hemisphere.

"We are thrilled to partner with Hobby Warehouse to bring TRU and BRU back to Australia and to launch in New Zealand.

"Louis Mittoni and his team have a strong digital vision and understand both the heritage of our iconic brands and how to evolve the shopping experience for the modern consumer.

"This is an exciting milestone for our company as we continue to grow TRU and BRU around the world," he said.

The announcement was made on 05 June.

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