Toys "R" Us founder Charles Lazarus has died at the age of 94 following “a period of declining health.” In light of the news of Lazarus’s passing, the children’s toy retailer issued the following statement:
There have been many sad moments for Toys“R”Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus, after a period of declining health. He visited us in New Jersey just last year and we will forever be grateful for his positive energy, passion for the customer and love for children everywhere. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones.
Following his return from World War II, Lazarus sought to capitalize on kids fascination with toys during a time when Barbies and Slinkys were all the rage. His first attempt came with the creation of Children’s Bargain Town in Washington D.C., which initially only sold baby furniture before toys were brought into the fold.
Lazarus opened the first Toys ‘R’ Us in 1957. The goal was to create a store solely dedicated to selling toys but modeled the look after a supermarket. At the height of its popularity, the children's toy retailer had as many as 1,600 stores around the world.
Back in September, Toys "R" Us filed for bankruptcy. Five months later, the company announced that they would be selling or closing all of their stores in the United States. On Thursday, they hit the pause button on the liquidation process of their statewide operations, citing “unforeseen circumstances.”