Circus World (store)
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Circus World was a toy store chain started and operated by Sydney Rubin, later purchased and operated by Rite Aid, bought by Melville Corporation in the 1990s, when most of its stores were converted to Kay-Bee Toys.
History since 1985
The Circus World chain was purchased by the Greenman Brothers (later Noodle Kidoodle) in 1985. Owners of the Playland chain of toy stores at the time, they converted them to Circus World stores. By the end of 1985, they managed to increase sales substantially through renovating stores and improving operations.
Despite the apparent turnaround and record sales, however, the operational improvements envisioned by Bernard Greenman did not come quickly enough, and in 1987 Circus World had lost $3 million for the fiscal year. The next year, same-store sales had become stagnant, and the company lost another $3 million.
Although the chain would become profitable again by 1990, it had failed to differentiate itself from competitor Kay-Bee Toys, and Greenman management decided to sell its chain of 330 Circus World stores. In August of that year, Kay-Bee's parent company Melville Corporation purchased Circus World, shortly after which most Circus World stores were converted to Kay-Bee Toys (later renamed KB Toys).
The stores were also run in the same manner as the Rite Aid drug stores, forcing the managers to spend much more office time than was needed, and less time on the floor selling to customers and maintaining inventory. Unfortunately, because there were many more Circus World stores than Playland, Greenman Brothers forced all stores to adopt the more complex Circus World methods rather than the simpler Playland system. The money Greenman Brothers were forced to pay out to upgrade the Circus World stores after paying to purchase the chain, plus the money they lost liquidating unsaleable merchandise, resulted in less operating capital to purchase merchandise for the 1986 Christmas selling season.