'Augmented Reality' in Toys R Us Stores a Pokemon Hail Mary?

'Augmented Reality' in Toys R Us Stores a Pokemon Hail Mary?

'Augmented Reality' in Toys R Us Stores a Pokemon Hail Mary?

Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection September 18, facing debt of $4.9 billion, $400 million of which was interest payments due in 2018 and another $1.7 billion in 2019, CNBC reported.

In the midst of its bankruptcy, Toys R Us is beefing up its online presence and revamping stores with a focus on interactive areas and augmented reality, Toys R Us CEO Dave Brandon told USA Today. These stores will contain 13 locations for children to interact with AR characters on smartphones and tablets. The toy retail giant hopes that the technology, already in development for their stores before the bankruptcy filing, will be the ticket to reinvigorate customer shopping experience.

The app, called Play Chaser, works by scanning signs scattered across each Toys R Us shop, which unlocks content like mini-games and other play experiences.

With the app, shoppers can animate Toys R Us' Geoffrey the Giraffe mascot, navigate the store, shoot virtual baskets, take care of a virtual baby, or scan a code to watch a toy animate on their phone screen. "We believe that's going to drive a lot more traffic into our stores which will ultimately put us in a position where we can be more successful at growing our sales and our company".

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Last Wednesday Toys R Us confirmed it closed on U.S. $3.1 billion of financing facilities that will support the company's operations during its recently announced bankruptcy filing regarding its financial restructuring process.

On 20 September 2017, Toys R Us received interim approval by the US Bankruptcy Court to access up to U.S. $2.2 billion of the DIP financing. However, it will still operate normally throughout its restructuring, which includes the holiday shopping season.

Toys R Us started something similar in 23 of its stores on Monday, with the idea of making them destinations for their customers, and plans to roll out its augmented reality experience nationwide on October 21.

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