Although the New Jersey-based chain of Toys “R” Us, US, is set to close one of every five of its US stores, 20 in the Tristate area and 12 in New Jersey alone, including Cherry Hill, the dates for the closing down sales have been postponed. The reason given by the company is that they need more time to plan. Although sales at 144 stores began in early February the second round of sales is still being organized in order to generate the maximum impact and create a sense of urgency for shoppers.
Many lined up yesterday to try to get the best deals at ToysRUs and BabysRUs, only to be disappointed. About half an hour before the open the company tweeted “DUE, TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL, THE LIQUIDATION SALE HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE”. E-Mails to the company went unanswered. One Employee has suggested that the sales will start either today or Saturday.
Online sales erode retail
It is sad for the roughly 30,000 staff who will be affected by the closures. The Amazon, Target, and Walmart online marketplace has eroded into the Toys R Us market, but online sales are not the only reason for the financial woes of the US stores.
Toy-shopping a sensory experience for children
What can beat the actual physical experience of going into a toy store and being able to touch the shiny cars and robotic toys, smell the plush fabric on cuddly toys, be wowed by the sheer size of some of the displays, get down and peep inside dollhouses to view and touch the tiny little figures and furniture?
By shopping online are we depriving our children of an amazing sensory experience? Toy stores have been around for centuries. Think of the iconic Hamley’s toy store in London that opened in 1760 as Noah’s Ark in High Holborn, London then moved in 1881 to its site in Regent Street, where it has been ever since, covering seven floors and stocking over 50,000 toy lines. In the US Toys “R” Us has been around since 1957. Charles P. Lazarus, the founder started a children’s furniture store in 1948 before switching over to toys.
Founder has passed away
Toys “R” Us announced the passing of the founder of the company Charles P. Lazarus at the age of 94 as the company goes through the processes of liquidation of many of its stores. Could his name be prophetic – as the Biblical Lazarus rose from death, perhaps the company may survive?
Light on the horizon
Isaac Larian, The CEO of MGA Entertainment Inc, a leading privately held toy and entertainment company that manufactures and markets the Bratz dolls and LOL Surprise as well as Little Tykes, among others, has launched a bid to save the beleaguered Toys “R” Us in the US, by personally spurring a campaign among investors to raise around $1 million. In fact Toys “R” Us has been responsible for 20% of the Bratz doll sales, so one can understand the desire to get involved to save a company that helped MGAE rise to its present position.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to crowdfund this investment idea. People who pledge will be given various special edition toys like the Little Tykes, LOL Surprise and T-shirts, depending on the size of the donation. It’s a commendable effort to preserve the joys of visiting a real toy store that has become one of the traditions of childhood and will bring fond memories to millions of adults in the US.