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Toys "R" Us is adding a new feature in hopes of drawing customers who would usually shop online into its stores.

The AR experience that Toys R Us is offering to customers will have them interacting with mascot Geoffrey as he directs them around the store.

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. The toys giant plans to be live in around a dozen stores and to spread across the nation on October 21. The app is also gamified, with the objective being to collect "stars" to unlock more experiences.

But the limited features feel a bit gimmicky unless Toys R Us can keep updating or releasing fresh app content. Play Chaser is free and being tested in 23 stores across the U.S. starting today, with plans to roll out to all stores by October 21st. The filing at the Bankruptcy court in Richmond shows that it has around $400 million in debt to be paid prior to the close of the year and long-term debt of $5 billion.

The investment will also include updating its e-commerce platforms and infrastructure to better reflect its brand, promote its products and provide improved delivery capabilities so "Toys R Us can effectively compete in the online shopping space".

While Toys "R" Us revolutionized toy sales in the 1950s and 60s, to the point of driving small neighborhood shops out of business, now it is on the receiving end of being trumped by new approaches, with the advent of online shopping.

The marketers have convinced CEO Brandon that augmented reality will put Toys R Us back in the game.

"Alarm bells will have been ringing for some time but it took until May this year for an online store revamp to take effect and it is hard to see how Toys "R" Us could address the structural challenges it faced without reducing its store footprint and significantly changing its proposition", explained Copestake.


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