Slideshow: The death of the big toy store

Ruben Ruiz
March 17, 2018

At the Toys "R" Us in Times Square, in the heart of Manhattan, all is more or less normal - noisy gizmos for sale drown out the store's background music, and employees stand at the ready.

Employees at several midstate stores reached Thursday morning said they heard the announcement that the debt-riddled New Jersey-based toy retail giant, known for the giraffe mascot, is running out of cash and must liquidate its stores. The company also announced it would close all 100 of its United Kingdom stores as well as its stores in Canada.

The company filed for bankruptcy late a year ago, citing the inability to compete with online shopping as a main reason.

1957: First Toys R Us store is opened. I used to love Toys R Us as a kid. Liquidation sales at those affected stores were launched in early February, with store closings slated for sometime in April. But the likely liquidation will have a bigger impact on smaller toy makers that rely more on the chain for sales. He remembers when Toys R Us came to town, leading to the closure of locally owned, Arthur's Toys.

"We have grown children and Toys R Us was always a staple at Christmas and birthdays".

The debate over who and what killed Toys R Us is now raging among analysts, company executives, and shoppers lamenting the chain's death.

The toy giant announced Thursday that it was closing all its USA stores after entering bankruptcy in September.

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Toys "R" Us traces its roots to 1948, when its founder, Charles Lazarus, opened Children's Bargain Town, a baby furniture store in Washington.

Anyone holding on to a Toys "R" Us gift card has another 30 days to use it before it could become invalid, said a spokesperson for the company.

Toys R Us then launched a turnaround plan that ended with the chain seeking buyers.

There has been a toy store at the Festival plaza in Hyannis ever since it was built in the late 1980's.

Welsh says she's been working with a number of companies like Glowzone, an entertainment park, and Lucky Markets, which offers beer tastings in its stores, which would be interested in taking some of the spaces nationwide.

Erin Finney of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, was at her local Toys R Us with her two of her three sons, ages 2 and 4. Other chains, seeing that Toys R Us was vulnerable, got more aggressive. GlobalData Retail estimates that almost 14 percent of toy sales were made online in 2016, more than double the level five years ago. The U.S. movie industry had a crummy 2017, making it tougher to sell toys with silver-screen tie-ins in recent months, and key partners such as Lego A/S and Mattel Inc. fell into sales slumps.

Even Toys "R" Us CEO David Brandon conceded in an SEC filing last fall that the company had fallen behind competitors "on various fronts, including with regard to general upkeep and the condition of our stores".

Other reports by GizPress

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