Archive

ShareThis Page
Last remaining Toys R Us stores prepare to close | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Last remaining Toys R Us stores prepare to close

The Associated Press
ToysRUsLiquidation28297jpg0fb0f
This Jan. 24, 2018, file photo shows a person walking near the entrance to a Toys R Us store, in Wayne, N.J. Toys R Us's management has told its employees that it will sell or close all of its U.S. stores. That's according to a toy industry analyst who spoke to several employees who were on the call Wednesday, March 14, 2018. Jim Silver, a toy industry expert, says Toys R Us's CEO told employees the plan is to liquidate all of its U.S. stores and after that, it could do a deal with its Canadian operation to run some of its U.S. stores. The company declined to comment. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

NEW YORK — Toys R Us is closing its last U.S. stores by Friday, the end of a chain known to generations of children and parents for its sprawling stores, brightly colored logo and Geoffrey the giraffe mascot.

But many of the children who happily sang the “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid” jingle grew into busy parents who found shopping online more convenient. The company, which also owned the Babies R Us chain, was hobbled by $5 billion in debt after a leveraged buyout that left it unable to invest and keep up.

As the last of the U.S. stores close, more than 30,000 workers will be looking for work. Toys R Us’ troubles have also shaken some big toy makers like Mattel and Hasbro.

Customers who were still devoted will be looking elsewhere to shop. Retailers like Walmart and Target are expanding their toy aisles to fill the hole, while Party City is opening 50 pop-up toy shops this fall.

Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last fall and pledged to stay open, but had poor sales during the critical holiday season as customers and vendors shied away. In January, it announced plans to close about 180 stores, but then in March it said it would liquidate the rest of the 700-plus stores.

Will the Toys R Us name and mascot disappear forever? An auction for the company’s name, baby shower registry and various trademarks is set for late July. The 16-foot tall statue of Geoffrey the Giraffe that greeted visitors at Toys R Us headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey will be moved to a children’s hospital in the state.

Many long-time employees were hoping to retire at a place they called home.

“I’m never going to have a job like Toys R Us,” said long-time employee Patty Van Fossan, 54, from Boardroom, Ohio, who was among a group of workers at protests in New York, fighting for severance that they believe they are owed. “It was the best job I had. I was surrounded by children.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.