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Toys R Us stores closing down


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#1 Morgan

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 07:40 PM

Toys R Us stores are shutting down, with 735 TRU and BRU stores expected to close within 60 days. 200 of those top-performing stores could stay open in certain markets, under bankruptcy reorganization.

 

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The circumstances of the decline of Toys R Us are a bit in dispute. "Accounts differ," to quote Tyrion Lannister. The retailer is said to have been driven to money troubles by having to service several significant debts to the tune of several hundred million a year, but at the same time it is said to have entered into those debts as a result of its own business decisions, put into motion years before its stakeholders had driven the retailer to expend much of its revenues on servicing its debts.

 

Plenty of news outlets, and TRU itself, blame Target, Wal-Mart, as well as The Amazons and The eBays for its demise, pointing to an outdated business model with an expensive footprint in the half-abandoned malls of the America.

 

In a way, it's wonder that TRU had survived into the late 2010s at all. The 735 TRU and BRU stores alone (how many is that per state?), seem like an oversaturation of the market, at a time when many retailers had taken the need to stop at a standlone big box store just to buy toys out of the daily routine of most parents.

 

Indeed, given the shellacking that most other "80s" and "90s" retailers have taken, TRU can be seen as a lone survivor of sorts, one which has weathered the damage inflicted by Wal-Mart and Target well over the years, despite all odds.

 

The last time I was in a TRU was somewhere in the early 2000s, by which time the stores had already started to seem eerily empty, but not quite as abandoned as Sears stores seem today. The selection was still okay, but it didn't differ from the toy aisles of Target -- it was hard to find something remarkably different at TRU than at the other big box stores.

 

Meanwhile, major toymakers like Lego, Mattel, and Hasbro are expected to take significant hits in distribution as the stores close down. JC Penney and Kohl's, of all places, are expected to beef up their toy aisles to grab a slice of the toy pie. (I didn't even know those two sold toys).
 

 



#2 1701D

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 09:00 PM

Here in the UK, Toys R Us stores are also closing their doors. Its such a shame but honestly its been expected for a while. Toys R Us used to be the destination for toy shopping but in recent years their stores have become just soulless warehouses.

We have another out of town toy store in the UK called Smyths and they provide an experience I remember Toys R Us once having - an exciting experience where kids can go in and try out a lot of the toys before buying.

I dont buy the rise of the internet being the only reason. TRU just failed to keep up with the changes to what customers expected. Poorly managed by soulless men who are so far removed from what the consumer wants and what the kid expects. Far too expensive, soulless sheds full of toys on shelves kids could not reach.

I wonder though, in time, will the Toys R Us name return in some manner?

#3 VulcanFanatic

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 06:58 AM

I started shopping at ToysRus in the 1980's back in what seemed to be the heyday of Toy stores.This is when i started collecting.There was Lionel's Toy Warehouse, K & K Toys, KayBee Toys and a number of local Toy stores to choose from in the area where I lived then. Lionel's was huge, a lot bigger than ToysRus, and had more to choose from and I always enjoyed that place more than ToysRus. There was 2 Lionel's and at least 4 ToysRus stores and 6 to 8 other toy stores to shop in in my area then.In the space of a few years, Lionel's went out of business, KayBee took over K&K and many other Toy stores started disappearing. ToysRus brought in BabiesRus and took over at least 1/3 of the store which reduced much of the selection of action figures that I would look for. After that, Walmart and Kmart had better selections of things I've looked for and the majority of my trips to ToysRus we're disappointing. They seemed to have lost their way long ago so I am not that broken up by their apparent demise.Lionel's was better in my opinion and I was sad to see them go. ToysRus was the one that buried them so not sad to see ToysRus go.

#4 Alteran195

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 07:40 AM

I'm more worried about the smaller toy companies than the larger ones. 

 

Over the last several years, NECA has gotten a pretty large display at Toys R Us, and they are the only place I've really seen their products. It seemed like they had a section of more collectible type stuff that had been growing, its gotten quite a bit bigger at my Toys R Us since I started going there.

 

If the big companies are expecting hits, then NECA and the other small companies are definitely going to suffer a bit more. 

 

Toys R Us may not be the same as it was, but I've gone there to look at their growing collectible type stuff that they've had, and its where I got several of my NECA figures. 

 

It depresses me that they're closing simply because there really aren't any other toy stores around anymore. Going to Toys R Us, or any of the toy stores around then, as a kid was always exciting. Now there wont be a place like that anymore. 



#5 s8film40

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 08:29 AM

I have always been a Toys R Us kid! As a kid a trip to TRU was always something I enjoyed and most of my childhood came from that store. Later as I was a "little too old" for toys I began collecting the Playmates line. I still vividly remember calling around to all my local stores for the new Playmates ST line, one finally got it and agreed to have some waiting for me and I went over. I met the guy I talked to on the phone and he went in the back and brought out that first case and opened it. I unfortunately didn't have enough money to buy them all so picked Picard and the Borg as my first two (bad choice, as a spent month looking for Troi after that). Of course back then there was no internet and things weren't revealed and shared months before, so seeing that case opened was like everything from Toy Fair to getting the product in hand all at once. I spent many hours at TRU (especially isle 7-C) pretty much non stop over the years. As I grew older and became a collector it became kind of a meeting spot amongst fellow toy hunters. Now having a son I see TRU from a whole new perspective. Every chance I get when I'm out with him and near a TRU I try to take the opportunity to go. He absolutely loves it! Our most recent trip (hopefully not the last) we spent almost an hour look at and playing with toys. I travel around my area a lot for work and so because I love toys I find myself continually searching for those toys that he's looking for, that's the toy collector in me I guess. I frequent 6 different TRU stores. I will say whoever does their purchasing is a big part of why they're having trouble. They buy in so heavily to certain things and then lack some variety amongst the toy lines. For example we collect the Cars die cast line, after the recent movie it's like they thought everyone was going to go out and buy Lightning McQueen only. They have racks of that one car and none of the rest of the line. Then they are apparently are so out of touch with their own stock they realized they weren't selling and started a 5 for $15 sale. Problem being you can't find five different cars available, no one wants 5 Lightning McQueens. Other big toys that they apparently thought would be huge hits were ordered in massive quantities. The Paw Patrol Sea Patroller is a great toy, but they clearly missed the mark in gauging it's demand.

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Of course for me I will always cherish the memories of TRU. What makes me really sad though is knowing that all those future visits with my son as he grows older and explores different types of toys may not happen. It's just not the same going to Target or Walmart and those stores pale in comparison to TRU's selection. We've recently started getting into Playmobile and are still building his Thomas collection those two lines for example are almost completely non existent at Target and Walmart. I'm hopeful that those 200 stores will be saved and fewer stores is possibly a better business model anyways. They can make TRU more of a destination thing that's somewhat more special. If not I hope someone else steps in to fill the void.

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#6 Gothneo

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 11:43 AM

Last of the big toy retailers :-( 

 

Also, TRU was really one of the last outlets for the smaller more boutique lines. That will be a huge loss, but I guess they can all sell on Amazon. 

 

Like others here I always love perusing the isles of TRU... went the other day and got me what is sure to be the last of the TRU Marvel legends exclusives. 



#7 RizzoPSU

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 02:35 PM

Here's to a possible hope that our kids can still run down toy isles

https://toynewsi.com...=1&itemid=30792

#8 s8film40

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 03:14 PM

I think something in between what KB was and what TRU currently is is the best answer. Perhaps KB could accomplish that. Something that fits in a strip center a little smaller in size to a Ross or Marshalls for example would be just the right size to still offer the variety that TRU does, but yet not pay the high rents that TRU does with big box stores and KB did in expensive mall locations.



#9 Whirlygig

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 09:45 AM

I have been wondering for the past 10 years how Toys R Us was even still around, so, it's not surprising.  I'm bummed mainly because of all the exclusives they would stock.  I also just got the Witch/Vision pack (that's what you mean right Goth?) but I snagged mine from the website.  Would be nice if the website could keep going, and get an overhaul to be actually functional.  But, I'm not surprised in the least.  There was always a ton of traffic from November-December, but then the place was like my own personal store for the rest of the year -- BOTH of them....BOTH within 13 miles of each other...seems a bit unnecessary, no?  And then last year they opened a THIRD one, an outlet in a new outlet mall, also within 13 miles, which also seemed like my own personal store.

 

And yeah they definitely needed some actual product expertise to help with their ordering decisions at each store...  So many dumb situations I would see there like the Cars example above.  No idea what really sold and what didn't, no effort to try and customize each store to its location...



#10 Gothneo

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 11:07 AM

Whirly, The Klaw  / Shuri 2-pack just showed up here... and they had the deadpool back in black exclusive. Lucky for me I'm a comic character fan more than movie fan. All though tis year will be a banner year for both I think.



#11 s8film40

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 01:07 PM

I thought this was strange. Went to one of my local TRU yesterday. This was the Neca section, everything had been removed except for a few Blade Runner figures. I had been to this location just a few days prior and they had a full assortment of Neca merchandise. I know Neca's setup with TRU is a little different from other merchandise, I've always heard Neca comes and unboxes it themselves. I wonder if perhaps they own the stock and because of TRU closing are pulling all their stuff? I don't really know but that was just a thought. In any case doesn't look like there will be liquidation pricing for Neca at this store at least.

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#12 Gothneo

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 01:19 PM

I would suppose that companies that shipped product on consignment know they aren't getting paid, so they want their merchandise back. 



#13 bgiles73

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 07:11 PM

My local Toys R Us in Lafayette, Louisiana has always remained fairly busy year round. The Baton Rouge store 60+ miles east of me stays relatively busy too. Ive spoken to friends of mine that work at both locations and I get the feeling from what Im hearing from them and news of MGA Entertainments bid for Canada Toys R Us and a possible 200 USA locations, that there is a little optimism that this final quarter, with 10 seconds on the clock Hail Mary Pass May come through. Im hoping for the best and Im really excited about the chance that Kay Bee Toys will be coming back into the foray. I also think that with a purging of all the old, stagnant stock of Star Wars, etc, maybe Toys R Us will be able to control their inventory better and keep fresh product in there. I hope Hasbro will realize that they dont need fifteen different scales of action-figure and concentrate on producing interesting waves of figures and vehicles in the midst of all the industry impacting shake ups as well.

#14 s8film40

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 07:25 PM

Thats the crazy thing is that TRU has been profitable even performing as poorly as they have. With a little effort there is huge potential for a toy store chain to do very well. I think a lot of people are seeing that potential and just figuring out how to capitalize on it. I would like to see the TRU brand live on, but if having a KB means we get to keep a toy store chain around then Ill happily take it. Who knows we could come out of this with TRU and KB competing like the old days.

#15 Whirlygig

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 09:47 PM

One of the locations near me was in the first wave of closings and has been in their increasing clearance mode for weeks. They are now at 40% off and that includes NECA. The NECA stuff had been moved from the adult section to the front aisles.

 

//EDIT:

 

Multiple sources are saying that the liquidation process officially begins tomorrow 3/22.  These sources are getting information from various managers at various stores.  11 different warehouses will begin shipping product to all stores for clearance sale until (they hope) gone.  Whatever TRU has in its warehouses, will be released.  This might include exclusives that were not due on the shelf yet, so whatever you need from TRU, be on the lookout.

 

Also, RE: NECA and others, someone at RebelScum also was told this:

 

 

A manager told me they have 11 warehouses in the USA so expect a ton of shipments. He also said a lot of smaller vendors have been coming in and pulling their product. Vendors like Neca.


#16 bgiles73

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 09:28 AM

MGA Entertainments CEO is saying that BIG NEWS is coming Thursday on their endeavor to buy the Canadian Toys R Us property as well as saving 200 USA stores. It wont be the same but maybe a streamlined Toys R Us business model is whats needed in order for them to remain competitive in todays market. Lately GameStop has been my number one source for New releases on action figures. They were first for McFarlanes Destiny figures. First for Funkos nod to Classic Masters of the Universe and Remco Fantasy figures with their Savage World- Mortal Kombat figures. Not only that I was easily able to find all three Chase figures as well. If both Toys R Us and Kay Bee are able to rise back up itll be a new golden age for collectors. And just a quick reminder McFarlanes Star Trek figures of Kirk and Picard will be out next month. So get ready!

#17 bgiles73

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 09:31 AM

Does anyone here know why when I add apostrophes here in my post they are omitted? It (apostrophe) s giving me a grammar OCD!

#18 s8film40

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 02:54 PM

Does anyone here know why when I add apostrophes here in my post they are omitted? It (apostrophe) s giving me a grammar OCD!

Happens to me when I post on my phone, but not on my desktop browser. 



#19 s8film40

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 09:16 AM

Well this is not what I was hoping it would be.

https://www.usatoday...r-us/448314002/

#20 Morgan

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 04:36 PM

To action figure buyers, KB always seemed to be just about the right size, while TRU seemed to be just a ton of aisles and empty space.

 

TRU in the 90s was ruled by scalpers & backroom dealers -- stuff just straight up didn't get to shelves -- so my feelings about it going away in that context are a little mixed. I'll miss the times I got some very obvious and not really rare stuff there, like the full run of Voyager figures the week they came out, but if you wanted to find rare Kenner Star Wars stuff there it was a toss-up.  

 

I don't know if this necessarily means that mom & pop toy stores will be dealt some kind of insane growth through gaining market share -- they always seemed to have a niche with (overpriced) model trains and (overpriced) model kits -- but one good aspect is that there seems to be an emerging appearance of mall stores stuffed with action figures & comic books from the 70s thru the 90s: Star Wars, Star Trek, Transformers, etc.
 






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