Toys R Us Plans to Close 180 Stores Across the Country

Photo: Getty Images.
Photo: Getty Images.

After going into bankruptcy in September, burdened by a bunch of corporate debt and under pressure from competitors like Amazon, Toys R Us is planning to shut down 20 percent of its stores in the US. The ominous clouds of the retail apocalypse continue to gather.

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Partly what’s happening here is a good, old-fashioned case of what goes around, comes around, the Associated Press reports,with a whole bunch of retail employees paying the price:

Toys R Us reigned supreme in the 1980s and early 1990s, when it was one of the first of the “category killers” — a store totally devoted to one thing: toys. Its scale gave it leverage with toy sellers and it disrupted general merchandise stores and mom-and-pop shops.

Now Toys R Us and other category killers like the now-defunct Sports Authority, Borders and Circuit City, are being upended by a new force: Amazon.com.

GlobalData Retail estimates that about 13.7 percent of toy sales were made online in 2016, up from 6.5 percent five years ago.

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But it’s not simply slow sales, though. The company still moves something like 20 percent of toys in America, and the AP notes that, “Toys R Us, based in Wayne, New Jersey, has struggled with debt since private-equity firms Bain Capital, KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust took it private in a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout in 2005. The plan had been to take the company public again, but weak sales have prevented that from happening.”

USA Today has a complete list of closures here. 

Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

archaeopterixmajorus
Archaeyopterix Majorus

This is so fucking sad. Maybe millennials don’t get it, but Gen Xer’s like myself and back, we get it... You might think it’s so convenient to order online, and sure, it is. But have you ever taken your kid, or when you WERE a kid, had you ever been taken into a Toys R Us and given a budget or number and told you could ‘pick a toy’? Because if you had, I guarantee you’d get it. There’s no replacement for the feedback of a physical store in that scenario. The overwhelming joy and feedback as either a parent, watching your child, or an adult watching ANY child, or as A child being in that situation, it’s unmatchable. NOTHING comes close to that, not even Christmas morning, to being let loose in an entire retail wonderland ENTIRELY for children and then told, “You, yes you, can pick any one thing you want; GO!” It’s fucking amazing as a kid, I remember this the very first time it happened to me and, YES, it was SO MUCH BETTER than not only the first time I had sex but the next SEVERAL times. There was no awkwardness, or pressure, there was promise, wonder, joy, and only those, no negative feelings at all; the world fell away. As an adult, taking a child for this whether your own or just a child not your own, you can indirectly experience these things and again, the world falls away for the half hour or hour you’re there. There’s no Trump, no bills, no stress, no job, no worries, you understand childlike glee and wonder and excitement and sunshine like endless days of summer again.

These stores closing... This is dark fucking days.