Toys "R" Us

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Toys"R"Us, Inc.
Type Private
Industry Retail
Founded Washington, D.C., U.S.
(1948 (1948), as Children's Bargain Town) Rockville, MD, U.S. (1957, as Toys“R”Us)[1]
Founder(s) Charles Lazarus
Headquarters Wayne, New Jersey, United States
Number of locations More than 1,700
Area served Worldwide
Key people Antonio Urcelay, Chairman and CEO
Products
  • Toys
  • Clothing
  • Baby products
Revenue US$13.5 billion (2013)[2]
Owner(s)
Employees 70,000 (123,000 during holiday season)
Divisions
  • FAO Schwarz
  • Toysrus.com
  • Babiesrus.com
  • eToys.com
  • FAO.com
Website toysrus.com

Toys "R" Us, Inc. (stylized as Toys Я Us) is a toy and juvenile-products retailer founded in 1948 and headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey. The company operates more than 872 Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in the United States, more than 715 international stores and over 180 licensed stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions.

In addition, it exclusively operates the FAO Schwarz brand and its flagship location in New York City. It also operates a portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com, Babiesrus.com, eToys.com, and FAO.com.[3]

Company history[edit]

Original Children's Supermart location in Washington, DC is now a bar.
Original Children's Supermart location is now Madam's Organ Blues Bar on 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan in Washington, D.C.

Charles Lazarus started Children's Supermart (which would evolve into Toys "R" Us) in Washington, D.C., during the post-war baby boom era in 1948 as a baby-furniture retailer. Its first location was at 2461 18th St. NW, where the nightclub Madam's Organ Blues Bar is located. Lazarus began receiving requests from customers for baby toys. After adding baby toys, he got requests for toys for older children. The focus of the store changed in 1957, and Toys "R" Us was born in Rockville, Maryland. Toys "R" Us was acquired in 1966 by Interstate Department Stores, owner of the White Front, Topps and Children's Bargain Town USA, a sister toy-store chain to Toys "R" Us in the American Midwest that would later be re-branded as part of the Toys "R" Us chain. The original Toys Я Us store design from 1969 to 1989 consisted of vertical rainbow stripes and a brown roof with a front entrance and side exit.[4] Some brown-roof locations still exist, although some have been painted different colors or renovated.

At its peak, Toys "R" Us was considered a classic example of a category killer, a business that specializes so thoroughly and efficiently in one sector that it pushes out competition from both smaller specialty stores and larger general retailers.[5] However, since the rise of mass merchants like Walmart, Target and Amazon, Toys "R" Us has lost much of its share of the toy market, and has fallen behind Walmart in toy sales since 1998.[6]

Outside of large, brightly lit store at night in New York City, surrounded by advertisements
Flagship store in Times Square, Manhattan

To improve the company, the board of directors installed John Eyler (formerly of FAO Schwarz). Eyler launched an unsuccessful, expensive plan to remodel and re-launch the chain. Blaming market pressures (primarily competition from Wal-Mart and Target), Toys "R" Us considered splitting its toy and baby businesses. On July 21, 2005, a consortium of Bain Capital Partners LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Vornado Realty Trust invested $1.3 billion to complete a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout of the company. Public stock closed for the last time at $26.74—pennies from the 68-week high, but far short of its all-time high of almost $45 in fourth-quarter 1993 and its five-year high of $31 in Q2 2001. Toys "R" Us is now a privately owned entity. However, the company still files with the Securities and Exchange Commission (as required by its debt agreements).[7]

On September 24, 2012, tablet maker Fuhu (partly owned by computer manufacturer Acer Inc.) sued Toys "R" Us, alleging that Toys "R" Us's Tabeo tablet copied their Nabi tablet computer and stole trade secrets.[8][9]

In fall 2012, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Hells Angels sued Toys "R" Us for Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition and Dilution in relation to the sale of yo-yos manufactured by Yomega Corporation, a co-defendant, which allegedly bears the "Death Head" logo. In its complaint,[10] Hells Angels asserted that the mark used on the yo-yos is likely to confuse the public into mistakenly believing that the toys originate with Hells Angels and Yomega filed counterclaims against Hells Angels for cancellation of the “Death Head” registrations on grounds of alleged fraud in the procurement of the registrations.[11] The case was settled and the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice.

Geoffrey the Giraffe[edit]

Smiling yellow giraffe with orange stars on neck, orange ears and round eyes, inside a blue circle
Geoffrey the giraffe

Formerly known as Dr. G. Raffe, the company's mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe made his debut during 1957 in print advertisements for Children's Bargain Town. He was known for saying "Toys "R" Us", a quote that paved the way for the company. During 1969, when Children's Bargain Town became Toys Я Us, Dr. G. Raffe was renamed Geoffrey and became the official Toys "R" Us "spokesanimal".

Other brands[edit]

Kids "R" Us[edit]

Kids "R" Us (corporately styled "Kids Я Us") was a children's clothing retailer. Their first locations opened in 1983 in Paramus, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, New York. The chain folded in 2003.[12]

Logos[edit]

Babies "R" Us[edit]

The first Babies "R" Us (corporately styled "Babies Я Us") location opened in 1996 in Westbury, New York. Babies "R" Us operates as a specialty baby products retailer and has grown to approximately 260 locations in the United States. The stores offers an assortment of products for newborns and infants.

Logos[edit]

Toys "R" Us, International[edit]

A Toys "R" Us store in Canada
Toys "R" Us store in Angeles City, Philippines

In addition to its expansion in the United States, Toys "R" Us launched a worldwide presence in 1984 when the company opened its first international wholly owned store in Canada (70 stores headquartered in Concord, Ontario) and licensed operation in Singapore. Toys "R" Us, International operates more than 600 international stores and over 140 licensed stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions outside the United States, including Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Germany (60), Switzerland (7), Austria (14), Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, among others. The company continues to grow internationally, and made its most recent entry into a new market in October 2011 when it opened its first licensed location in Poland (Blue City).

In 2009, Toys "R" Us purchased remaining shares of Toys "R" Us, Japan from McDonald's Holdings Co., increasing its ownership from approximately 62% to slightly over 90%. Toys "Я" Us had plan to launch retail stores in India with the help of Reliance Retails PVT LTD but some how nothing to hear from that project.

FAO Schwarz[edit]

In May 2009, Toys "R" Us, Inc. acquired toy retailer FAO Schwarz and operates the retailer's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, as well as its e-commerce site, FAO.com.[13]

During the 2010 holiday season, Toys "R" Us, Inc. developed a rebranding strategy for FAO Schwarz, including a new logo containing a sprite-like creature which the company has dubbed "Wit." In addition, the company put FAO-branded merchandise in Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores, while keeping the high-end specialty toy brands that can't be sold at mass market at the FAO Schwarz store and on the FAO.com website.[14]

Toys "R" Us Express[edit]

For the 2009 holiday-shopping season, Toys "R" Us tried a smaller-store concept to attract customers and 90 "Holiday Express" stores across the United States and Canada were opened.[15] The Holiday Express stores are smaller than regular Toys "R" Us locations, often located in malls, and offer a more limited selection of merchandise than would be available at a stand-alone Toys "R" Us store. Most (if not all) of these 90 stores were opened in shopping-center and mall spaces that had been vacated by store chains closing their doors during the recession (including KB Toys, several of which were taken over by Toys "R" Us).[15] Toys "R" Us's plan was to keep the Holiday Express stores open until early January 2010 and close them shortly thereafter, but the success of many prompted the company to reconsider and several were kept open.[16] These stores are known as "Toys "R" Us Express". Beginning in June 2010, Toys "R" Us opened a total of 600 Express locations. Four more were converted to Toys "R" Us outlet stores.[17]

Toys R Us, online[edit]

Toys "R" Us launched www.toysrus.com in June 1996.

Following a disastrous Christmas 1999 trading period where it failed to deliver gifts on time, it entered into a ten-year contract with Amazon.com to be the exclusive supplier of toys on the website. Amazon eventually reneged on the terms of the contract by allowing third-party retailers to use its marketplace to sell toys, citing Toys "R" Us's failure to carry a sufficiently large range of goods, including the most popular lines.[18] In 2006 Toys "R" Us won a lawsuit against Amazon and in 2009 were awarded $51 million, just over half of the $93 million damages claimed for in their filing.[19]

It placed at #29 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide for 2012.[20] Toysrus.com is one of the most visited sites in the specialty toy and baby products retail category[citation needed] with an assortment of toys. In addition, Babiesrus.com offers a wide selection of baby products and supplies and access to the company's baby registry.

Looking to expand its web portfolio, in February 2009, the company acquired online toy seller eToys.com from Parent Co., which filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2008. Financial terms were not disclosed.[21] Around the same time, it was reported that Toys "Я" Us, Inc. bought Toys.com for an estimated $5.1 million. Today, the company operates Toys.com to list unadvertised and exclusive deals available on its portfolio of e-commerce sites.[22]

In 2010, Toys "R" Us, Inc. reported that its Internet sales grew 29.9% year-over-year to $782 million from $602 million, and in April 2011, the company announced plans to open a dedicated e-commerce fulfillment center in McCarran, Nevada.[23] The company later reported online sales of $1 billion for 2011 and $1.1 billion for 2012[24]

21st century initiatives[edit]

Rooftop solar project[edit]

On April 11, 2011, Toys "R" Us announced that it plans to cover 70 percent of the roof of its distribution center (located in Flanders, New Jersey) with a solar installation. The company claims this 5.38-megawatt solar project will be the largest rooftop solar installation in North America.[25]

Integrated store strategy[edit]

On August 23, 2011, Toys "R" Us Inc. announced it would open 21 new stores before year's end, as part of an overall strategy the company has been pursuing since 2006 to house Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us in the same building. The company says the stores provide more shopper convenience. The privately held toy company said this will include 11 "R" Superstores—which have full-size Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in one location—and 10 stores that will have smaller Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in the same location. The stores will be in 13 states including Alabama, California, Georgia, New Jersey, and Texas. It is also remodeling 23 existing stores so that the two stores will be in the same location.[26]

Product safety[edit]

Toys "R" Us has reportedly implemented high safety standards, and in 2007 vowed to take an aggressive approach towards holding vendors accountable for meeting those standards.[27] Former Chairman and CEO Gerald L. Storch, testifying before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on toy safety in September 2007, said he supported new legislation strengthening toy-safety standards and outlined new initiatives the retailer had set forth to ensure that its customers receive timely information on recalls (including a new website).[28][29]

In 2008, the company introduced stricter product safety standards exceeding federal requirements. Among the new standards was a requirement for materials inside toys to meet a standard of 250 parts per million of lead for all products manufactured exclusively for the retailer (compared with the federal standard of 600 ppm.) Toys "R" Us also announced the requirement that baby products be produced without the addition of phthalates, which have raised concerns about infant safety.[30] The company has since adjusted its requirements to meet new federal standards enacted with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

“TRU Transformation”[edit]

In early 2014, Toys“R”Us, Inc., announced its “TRU Transformation,” strategy, which concentrates on efforts to fix foundational issues in order to position the company for growth in the future. The company will focus on improving shopping experiences in-store and online. To improve the customer experience, the company plans to manage inventory better, make stores less cluttered and easier to shop, and develop a clear pricing strategy with simpler promotional offers.[31][32] The company will also focus on integrating its in-store and online businesses more fully.[33]

Kardashian Kids[edit]

Babies“R”Us and Jupi Corp. announced the launch of Kardashian Kids, an exclusive collection of apparel for girls ages 0 to 24 months, designed by fashion icons Kourtney, Kim and Khloé Kardashian, in February 2014.[34]

Christmas Season initiatives[edit]

In 2013, Quartz.com called Toys “R” Us the largest standalone toy store chain in the world. [35] Since the toy business is incredibly seasonal, more than 40% of the company’s sales come in during the fourth quarter of the year. [36]

In December 2013, eight days before Christmas, Toys ‘R’ Us announced that their stores in the United States will stay open for 87 hours straight. [37] The flagship store of the retailer in New York Times Square was open for 24 hours a day [38] from December 1 up to December 24 – for a total of 566 consecutive hours to cater to shoppers who were mostly tourists. The announcement came after snow and rain caused a nearly 9 percent year-over-year decline [39] in store foot traffic in the United States. [40]

This move also pushed the retailer to hire an additional 45,000 seasonal workers [41] to cater to the demand of the extended store hours. [42]

Logos[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Our History". Toys"R"Us Corporate website. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Fortune 500 2013". CNN Money. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Investor Relations - Toys"R"Us Corporate". Toys"R"Us. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Toys"R"Us, Inc. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Toys"R"Us, Inc". Referenceforbusiness.com. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  5. ^ Flax, Steven (11 June 1989). "Perils of the Paper Clip Trade". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Wal-Mart Dethrones Toys R Us". The Associated Press. 29 March 1999. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Investor Relations - Toys Я Us Corporate". Phx.corporate-ir.net. Retrieved January 20, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Toys R Us sued over kids tablet trade secrets". Reuters. September 24, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Toys R Us sued over Tabeo tablet computer by Fuhu". BBC News. September 25, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  10. ^ Hells Angels Complaint
  11. ^ Weller, Susan Neuberger; Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. (July 12, 2013). "Hells Angels and Toys "R" Us Settle "Death Head" Trademark Litigation". The National Law Review. 
  12. ^ toysrusinc.com, "Our history". Accessed 12 May 2013.
  13. ^ Anderson, Mae (May 28, 2009). "Toys R Us Acquires High-end FAO Schwarz". Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  14. ^ Verdon, Joan (October 14, 2010). "Toys 'R' Us has big plans for luxe retailer FAO Schwarz". The Record. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Verdon, Joan (September 15, 2009). "Toys R Us goes on the offensive". The Record. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  16. ^ DeMarrias, Kevin G. (December 30, 2009). "Toys R Us will keep selected Holiday Express stores open". The Record. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Toys Я Us Announces Plans to Open 600 Toys Я Us Express Stores in Malls and Shopping Centers, Doubling the Number of Toys Я Us Locations Nationwide for 2010 Christmas Season". Press Releases - Toys "R" Us Corporate. September 9, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Toys R Us wins Amazon lawsuit". BBC News. March 3, 2006. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  19. ^ Metz, Rachel (June 12, 2009). "Amazon to pay Toys R Us $51M to settle suit". USA Today (Associated Press). Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  20. ^ Woodward, Kevin (November 20, 2012). "Toys 'R' Us debuts a dedicated e-commerce site for China". Internet Retailer. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  21. ^ (Associated Press) (February 13, 2009). "Toys R Us acquires EToys.com". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Toys 'R' Us Buys Toys.com Domain Name for $5.1M". domainnamewire.com. February 27, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  23. ^ Brohan, Mark (April 20, 2011). "Toys 'R' Us opens a dedicated e-commerce fulfillment hub". internetretailer.com. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Toys 'R' Us 2012 10-K". 
  25. ^ Lombardi, Candace (May 11, 2011). "Toys 'R' Us building massive rooftop solar project". CNET. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Toys R Us to open 21 new stores before year ends". Yahoo.com (Associated Press). August 23, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  27. ^ d'Innocenzio, Anne (Associated Press) (December 16, 2007). "Toys R Us CEO vows to push toy safety amid slew of recalls". The Post and Courier. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Safety". toysrus.com. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  29. ^ Kavilanz, Parija B. (September 12, 2007). "Mattel CEO contrite before Senate". CNN. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Toys 'R' Us, Wal-Mart boosting safety standards". MSNBC (Associated Press). 15 February 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  31. ^ Verdon, Joan (March 26, 2014). "Toys 'R' Us: New game plan or same toy story?". NorthJersey.com. 
  32. ^ Wilson, Marianne (March 26, 2014). "Toys ‘R’ Us posts Q4 loss; store updates part of new ‘transformation’ strategy". Chain Store Age. 
  33. ^ Wilson, Marianne (March 27, 2014). "Toys ‘R’ Us to update U.S. store base; creating store of the future". Chain Store Age. 
  34. ^ Rein-Olowokere, Shanelle (February 20, 2014). "Sneak Peek: Kardashian Kids Clothing Line at Babies ‘R’ Us". People. 
  35. ^ This Christmas could be make-or-break for Toys “R” Us. Matt Phillips. Quartz News. November 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014
  36. ^ Toys R Us Creates Hell On Earth With 87-Hour Christmas Marathon. Krystina Gustafson. The Huffingtonpost. December 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014
  37. ^ Toys R Us to stay open for 87 hours straight. Krystina Gustafson. NBC News. Retrieved 10 May 2014
  38. ^ Times Square Toys “R” Us stays open 24/7. MyFox New York Staff. Fox News. December 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014
  39. ^ Cloudy Forecast for Holiday Spending Prompts More Promotion Stuart Elliott.The New York Times. October 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014
  40. ^ Retailers extend hours to help time-crunched shoppers. Mike Snider. USA Today. December 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014
  41. ^ Toys “R” Us to Hire 45,000 Employees Nationwide in Advance of 2013 Holiday Shopping Season. PR NewsWire. Retrieved 10 May 2014
  42. ^ Toys R Us holiday hiring same as last year. Emily Jane Fox. CNN Money. September 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014

External links[edit]