Toys “R” Us Canada launches new kids’ clothing line, Rise Little Earthling

May 31, 2021 – The Canadian Press – When Vic Bertrand took over the helm of Toys “R” Us Canada in late 2019, he took a hard look at the retailer’s operations.

He found two shortcomings with the store’s clothing: The collection was what he called “pedestrian” and sizes stopped at age two.

“We lacked expertise in the apparel business,” Bertrand says. “We had a pretty ordinary assortment of baby clothes – nothing magical, nothing ‘wow’.”

The president and CEO of Canada’s biggest toy and baby product store invited Canadian fashion mogul Joe Mimran for lunch.

“It was a catch-up lunch but we started talking about the store’s apparel,” says Mimran, the designer behind Club Monaco and Joe Fresh.

“He was just asking for my advice ? but I said, ‘Let me put something together and let’s see if we can re-imagine the entire department.””

They met again a couple weeks later, this time with the designer and CEO’s senior teams and it was like “lightning was striking all over the room,” Bertrand says. “There were tons of ideas.”

More than a year – and a pandemic – later, Rise Little Earthling launches Monday in Toys “R” Us stores and online.

The new clothing line combines Mimran’s accessible style with a playful toy store-inspired quality, the retailer says.

It couldn’t come at a better time, experts say.

After months of pandemic-related store closures, the new apparel could spur sales for the toy store, they say.

It could also help put the Canadian retail chain on a more solid footing for the future, something industry watchers say has been needed since its American counterpart filed for bankruptcy protection and shuttered all its U.S. stores in 2018.

“Toys ‘R’ Us Canada is in an interesting spot because they don’t have the buying clout and the buying leverage that they used to have with the big mothership in the U.S.,” retail analyst Bruce Winder says.

Read more at The Canadian Press.