What could be more iconic than shuffling through the halls of a huge toy store like Toys'R'Us, eyes wide with wonder, just thinking of the possibilities all the colorful and shiny plastic offered to you? You think Barney becoming a tantric massage specialist ruined your childhood? Well, buddy, have I got news for you. Get ready for your entire world to come crashing down, because our collective childhood memories will remain memories, and the children of the future will be bereft of yet another of life’s simple pleasures: Toys’R’Us. The largest toy chain in the world will close 180 U.S. stores in an attempt to reorganize after filing for bankruptcy back in September, according to Fortune.
The move will see about 20 percent of its U.S. locations close down, and at least half of those will include Babies'R'Us stores, Bloomberg News reports. The plan includes shutting down two high-profile stores, including the Toys'R'Us store in Wayne, New Jersey, which is where the company is based as well as the Manhattan Babies'R'Us store in Union Square. These two locations accounted for $925 million in sales in 2017, per court documents. The plan still needs court approval, but it's the company's current plan to salvage their brand after years of unimpressive sales and a hefty $5 billion in debt.
CEO Dave Brandon has a few other ideas on how to fix the company. In a letter to his employees obtained by Bloomberg, Brandon spelled out the situation. The bankruptcy “hurt customer confidence,” “disrupted” parts of the business, and the company must now correct its “operational mistakes.” To do so, Brandon plans on revamping existing store locations to combine their two brands: Babies’R’Us and Toys’R’Us. Furthermore, Brandon plans to reduce inventory to “simplify the company’s store operations and supply chain.” He also plans to make stores more fun to shop in by creating toy demonstrations and more in-store experiences.
The store closings aren’t exactly good news for competitors, either. Both large and small toy companies look to Toys’R’Us to introduce new products, so fewer stores is just more bad news for the industry that already took a hit over the holiday season.