Toys "R" Us
|Headquarters||Wayne, New Jersey, United States|
Number of locations
(Chairman & CEO)
|Revenue||US$12.4 billion (2014)|
|Owner||Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
Vornado Realty Trust
Number of employees
|Parent||Interstate Department Stores (1966–1978)|
|Divisions||Babies "R" Us|
Toys "R" Us, Inc. is an American toy and juvenile-products retailer founded in 1948 and headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey, in the New York City metropolitan area. Founded by Charles P. Lazarus in its modern incarnation in 1957, Toys "R" Us traces its origins to Lazarus' children's furniture store, which he started in 1948. He added toys to his offering, and eventually shifted his focus.
Toys "R" Us experienced expansion as a chain, becoming predominant in its niche field of toy retail. Represented by cartoon mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe from 1969, Toys "R" Us eventually branched out into launching the stores Babies "R" Us and the now-defunct Kids "R" Us.
The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. on September 18, 2017, and has also filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada (see Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act). They have stated their stores will continue to operate. Operations in Europe and Australia, licensed stores and joint venture partnership in Asia, which are separate entities, are not part of the Chapter 11 filing.
- 1 Current operations
- 2 Stores
- 3 Company history
- 4 Other brands
- 5 Toys "R" Us online
- 6 21st century initiatives
- 7 Logos
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The company owns or licenses 866 Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, more than 750 international stores and more than 245 licensed stores in 37 countries and jurisdictions.
Charles P. Lazarus (born 1923) founded 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, Inc., owner of the White Front, Topps Chains and Children's Bargain Town USA, a toy-store chain related to Toys "R" Us in the American Midwest that would later be combined with the rest of the Toys "R" Us chain. The original Toys "R" Us store design from 1969 to 1989 consisted of vertical rainbow stripes and a brown roof with a front entrance and side exit.
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. Since the rise of mass merchants like Walmart, Target and Amazon, however, Toys "R" Us has lost much of its share of the toy market, and fell behind Walmart in toy sales for 1998.
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 Walmart 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).
Geoffrey the Giraffe
Formerly known as "Dr. G. Raffe" in 1950's print advertisements for Children's Bargaintown, Geoffrey the Giraffe evolved in name and appearance over the next decade to become the official mascot of the renamed Toys "R" Us. Serving as a "spokesanimal" for the brand, Geoffrey's design went through several phases over the next 50+ years before the current star-spotted iteration was finalized in 2007.
In 2017, the company sponsored the live camera broadcast for April the Giraffe, which helped support giraffe conservation and awareness. The sponsored camera of pregnant April the giraffe went viral with million of views on YouTube and across social media platforms.
On September 18, 2017, Toys "R" Us, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, stating the move would give it flexibility to deal with $5 billion in long-term debt, borrow $2 billion so it can pay suppliers for the upcoming holiday season and invest in improving current operations. The company has stated that their brick-and-mortar stores and online sales sites will continue to operate.
A company statement quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald said only U.S. and Canadian operations are affected:
|“||The company's operations outside of the US and Canada, including its operations in Europe and Australia and its approximately 255 licensed stores and joint venture partnership in Asia, which are separate entities, are not part of the Chapter 11 filing,"||”|
The company has not had an annual profit since 2013. It reported a net loss of $US164 million in the quarter ended April 29, 2017. It lost $US 126 million in the same period in the prior year.
On December 4, 2017, the company reported that they would be closing at least 26 stores in the United Kingdom as part of a "Company Voluntary Arrangement." 
Kids "R" Us
Babies "R" Us
The first Babies "R" Us location opened in 1996 in Westbury, New York. The store 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, infants, and toddlers. The company also maintains a registry and offers pre and postnatal classes and events.
Toys "R" Us, International
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 2006, 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%.
In May 2006, Toys "R" Us, Inc. acquired toy retailer FAO Schwarz including the retailer's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, as well as its e-commerce site, FAO.com. The company closed the FAO Schwarz flagship store in New York on July 15, 2015 citing rising rental costs, but continues to carry FAO Schwarz branded toys in its Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores.
Toys "R" Us Express
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. 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). 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 so many prompted the company to reconsider and several were kept open. 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.
Toys "R" Us online
Following a disastrous Christmas 1999 trading period during which the company failed to deliver gifts on time, Toys "R" Us entered into a ten-year contract with online retailer Amazon 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. In 2006, Toys "R" Us successfully sued Amazon; the company was awarded $51 million in damages in 2009, just over half of the $93 million initially claimed.
It placed at #29 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide for 2012. Toysrus.com is one of the most visited sites in the specialty toy and baby products retail category 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. Around the same time, it was reported that Toys "R" 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.
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. The company later reported online sales of $1 billion for 2011 and $1.1 billion for 2012.
21st century initiatives
Since 2004, Toys "R" Us has partnered with the Toys for Tots foundation to serve as a donation site for anyone donating unwrapped toys or monetary gifts. Since the outset of the partnership, Toys for Tots has reported that Toys "R" Us campaigns have raised over $55 million and donated more than 4 million toys.
Toys "R" Us Children's Fund, a public charity affiliated with the company, partners with non-profits to provide products and monetary gifts to children in need. Toys "R" Us Children's Fund has contributed over $7.6 million to Save the Children initiatives in the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, and in 2016, the charity gave a $1 million grant to non-profit resort, Give Kids The World Village.
Rooftop solar project
On April 11, 2011, Toys "R" Us announced that it planned to cover 70 percent of the roof of its distribution center (located in Flanders, New Jersey) with a solar installation. The company claimed this 5.38-megawatt solar project would be the largest rooftop solar installation in North America.
Integrated store strategy
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's also remodeling 23 existing stores so that the two stores will be in the same location.
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. 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).
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. The company has since adjusted its requirements to meet new federal standards enacted with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
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. The company will also focus on integrating its in-store and online businesses more fully.
Christmas season initiatives
In 2013, Quartz called Toys "R" Us the largest standalone toy store chain in the world. Since the toy business is incredibly seasonal, more than 40% of the company’s sales come in during the fourth quarter of the year.
In December 2013, eight days before Christmas, Toys "R" Us announced that their stores in the United States would stay open for 87 hours straight. The flagship store of the retailer in New York Times Square was open for 24 hours a day 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 in store foot traffic in the United States.
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Interstate Department Stores Inc., announced yesterday the acquisition for "several millions in cash" of the four-store Children's Supermart, Inc., Washington.Alternate Link via ProQuest.
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- Cloudy Forecast for Holiday Spending Prompts More Promotion Stuart Elliott.The New York Times. October 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014
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