The private equity owners of Toys R Us are weighing an initial public offering for the retailer, sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.

Toys R Us, which was acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, Bain Capital and Vornado Realty Trust in 2005 for $6.6 billion, has been a potential IPO candidate for some time, the sources said.

The timing of an offering depends on the strength of the IPO and retail markets, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the media.

The IPO market has improved dramatically over the last several weeks, with several offerings pricing above the expected range and trading higher in their debut.

For example, Citigroup life insurance spin-off Primerica Inc
priced above the expected range and sold more shares than anticipated. Its shares are now trading almost 50 percent above their IPO price.

The retail market, too, has seen some strength in recent weeks. Top U.S. retail chains posted a record rise in monthly same-store sales for March, helped by an early Easter holiday and an improving job market.

Analysts and economists said on Thursday that underlying consumer spending was accelerating after six months of modest growth.

Last month, Toys R Us posted higher fourth-quarter earnings as strong sales of toys offset weak demand for video games in the holiday shopping season.

The world's largest dedicated toy retailer boosted its presence on social networking sites like Facebook and offered shoppers a layaway plan to buy holiday gifts.

The company also opened more R Superstores, which combine a full-size toy store and a full-size baby store under one roof. The company plans to open more R Superstores in 2010.

(Reporting by Megan Davies, additional reporting by Jessica Hall and Clare Baldwin, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Lisa Von Ahn)