Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Toys 'R' Us Shutting Down, Closing All Stores

After filing for bankruptcy and trying to come up with solutions to save the company by selling it, Toys R Us has officially thrown in the towel. Today the company announced it was closing all 800 of its United States Toys R Us & Babies R Us locations. It had previously announced it was closing all its United Kingdom locations. The 60 year old company has "$7.9 billion in debt against $6/6 billion in assets" and owes money to more then 100,000 creditors. The closure will lead to the loss of 33,000 nationwide. End result is the company will likely cease to exist worldwide by beginning of the summer.

The cause is many and varied but the always higher prices on toys compared to competitors (like Target and Wal-Mart) and the last decade virtually ignoring online retail combined with toys being replaced by tablets, computers, phone and other virtual means made this slide all but inevitable. “We know that customers are willing to pay more for an enjoyable experience — just look at the lines at Starbucks every day — but Toys R Us has failed to give us anything special or unique,” Kelly O’Keefe, a professor of brand management at Virginia Commonwealth University, told The Washington Post this year. “You can find more zest for life in a Walgreens.” I can't really disagree with that assessment.

To compound this sad day, the incompetent corporate management that pushed the company over the cliff will likely get hefty bonuses for their failures. The amounts have not yet been disclosed and usually have to be approved by the bankruptcy court that almost always rubber stamps such requests. As for the 33,000 about the enter the job market...good luck.

No indication on when the clearance will begin but likely either this weekend or next so keep an eye out. If you have any TRU gift cards, go immediately to the website or store and try to use them now as they are probably not even a few days away from being useless. Usually when chains at this scale shut down, they actually sell of their entire inventory to other companies who bring in their own employees (or temporarily hire ex-employees of that chain) to then sell of that inventory. As a result the first few weeks of clearances is when everything gets marked up to over MSRP and then "discounted" back to normal sell prices so if go to a closing store, do your homework on what a good deal is, don't assume the % means you got one.

It is a sad day to see this piece of childhood disappear. “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid" describes me (maybe a little closely) and I don't bother to go there anymore as always fail to find what I was looking for at a reasonable price and now its online only. I still remember a time when an entire aisle was nothing but G1 Transformers boxes, another GI Joe figures, another of Lego, and so forth. Another aisle was nothing but boxes of Nintendo and Sega games. A child's paradise of potential. Somewhere along the way those in charge forgot that and it became something boring, lifeless and of no value. To know the incompetence will be rewarded just makes it a little bit worse.

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