By: Carly Freitas
One of the largest and most popular retail toy stores in the United States and abroad, Toys R Us, is officially set to close or sell all its U.S. stores within the next few months. The first store opened in the 1950s and made a remarkable impact on the toy industry. For generations, millions of kids grew to know Toys R Us as a place filled with seemingly endless toys, games, bikes, video games and gift ideas for children of all ages. It was a store whose name exuded natural excitement and fun for the young. The mascot, Geoffrey the giraffe, and the popular jingle, “I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid,” became a part of many childhood memories.
It was a successful business throughout the years but according to CNNMoney.com, the retail store filed for bankruptcy back in September of 2017, stating that they had around $5 billion in debt and would need to spend around $400 million a year to restructure and pay off that debt. While Toys ‘R’ Us emerged as the first major retail toy store, the popularity of online shopping over the years allowed customers to search the web for the best prices. Many other toy companies and big box stores such as Walmart and Target discounted competitive prices on toys to get parents to buy from them. This tactic worked and eventually their profits increased while Toys ‘R’ Us’s profits began to decline. Also, the taste of toys started to sway with older children as more computer games and game apps became available online. Because of these factors, the company recently made the decision to close all 735 of their stores in the United States. David Brandon, the CEO of the Wayne, New Jersey based toy retailer, told FOX Business that this decision will produce the layoff of more than 33,000 of their workers.
Another popular retailer is considering using the demise of Toys R Us to their benefit. The popular online ecommerce website, Amazon, is mulling over using the empty physical stores and buildings to expand their business. Time.com states that the online giant is not interested in maintaining the Toys ‘R’ Us brand, but is contemplating using the soon-to-be vacant spaces for their own purposes. Amazon is already one of the highest ecommerce websites ever created and has recently opened their own line of bookstores and convenience stores. Last year, they purchased the popular grocery store, Whole Foods, and added over 450 locations across the nation according to Fortune.com. Among other ideas, Amazon is floating around to utilize the former Toys ‘R’ Us spaces to market and expand their popular line of Echo devices. Bloomberg.com has stated that Amazon sees voice as the next interface for people to access technology. With this probable expansion, Amazon has the potential to increase their business investments in new products, markets, sales and employees around the world. Although the closing of the Toys ‘R’ Us brand name stores may mean the end of an era that young adults will remember forever, it is the start of something new for the constantly expanding ecommerce company, Amazon.