Friday, November 29, 2019

The death and rebirth of Toys R Us, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse for Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day

Happy Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day!  Last year, I covered the Retail Apocalypse by focusing on Macy's and Bon-Ton.  This year, I continue with the tradition by re-examining the death and rebirth of Toys R Us, one of the first two chains I followed in covering the decline of brick-and-mortar retailers.  I begin with Wall Street Journal's How Toys 'R' Us Went Bankrupt, which concludes with the chains rebirth under new ownership.

For decades, Toys "R" Us was not only one of the top toy retailers in the United States, it was one of the top retailers period. Until it suddenly wasn’t. Toys “R” filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and liquidated six months later. This is the story of how Toys "R" Us went bankrupt.
The part about the private equity firm that secured their loans to Toys R Us's intellectual property, including Geoffrey the Giraffe, was a new facet of the story to me.  It ties into what I wrote in June about the revival of the name.
Toys R Us is like TwinkiesThe products are too valuable and someone will make them.
Companies will do so even if it involves killing off the original company and stripping the carcass.  To paraphrase Steve Martin, capitalism is not pretty.

Follow over the jump for two videos about the opening of the first Toys R Us store under Tru Kids, the new ownership.

The president of Tru Kids, Richard Barry, told the story of the new company and its stores to two news organizations the day before Thanksgiving, beginning with CNBC, who reported Toys R Us opens first store since going bankrupt in 2017—Here's what it looks like.

Richard Barry, president and CEO of Tru Kids, the parent company of Toys R Us, discusses the first Toys R Us store to open since the company declared bankruptcy in 2017.
That clip lacked a host or interviewer, which made it look like corporate PR more than news.  That's not the case with SEE IT: How the new Toys 'R' Us stores will be different from the original ones from Eyewitness News ABC7NY, where the interviewer provided a perspective that the CNBC video lacked.

New Toys "R" Us stores will be a fraction of the size of the original stores and will be focused in high traffic locations, like the Garden State Plaza mall.
As bitter or salty as I am over the loss of the original Toys R Us, I wish the new company success, if not for their sake then for the kids who will be their customers.

That's it for the Retail Apocalypse/Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day.  Stay tuned for Small Business Saturday.

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