A huge queue of excited shoppers gathered to meet Geoffrey the Giraffe as he opened the new Toys ‘R’ Us in York.
The famous brand is inside the WHSmith at Monks Cross – the first Toys ‘R’ Us to open in the UK since the original stores closed down in 2019.
The event was celebrated with goodie bag giveaways and pictures with Geoffrey, before the shoppers got to browse shelves dedicated to everything from Lego to Barbie, Sylvanian families to hand puppets.
At a demonstration area, a member of staff was showing how easy it was to fly a toy drone.
First in the queue was Rose Dobson. She had been there since 8am. “I’m hoping they’ve got Harry Potter,” she said YorkMix.
“I’m a very big Harry Potter fan. But anything that catches my eye, I might buy!”
The ribbon cutting ceremony was undertaken by Geoffrey with his helper, Aitken, nine, who was there with his mum Fiona Grant.
Simon Cartey, UK commercial director at Toys R Us, was delighted to be opening their first in-store shop at the WHSmith in York.
He remembered taking his son when he was little to the city’s original Toys ‘R’ Us at Clifton Moor.
And now a new generation of children would get the same experience.
“I’m just incredibly excited to be here today,” he told YorkMix.
“It’s just an absolute joy and that Toys ‘R’ Us is back open again in the UK.”
He said the renaissance of the brand proved that shopping “is not all about online”.
“You can buy a box online, but you can’t experience a toy online.”
Ian Sanders, group commercial development director, said the York event was the first of nine openings inside WHSmith shops around the country – with Oxford and Cheltenham opening next.
“We do think Toys R Us and WHSmith are a great fit together. They’re two great heritage brands.
“Hopefully it appeals to our existing customers and hopefully it’ll attract some new customers.”
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