Tough news, toy shoppers: On March 15, 2018, Toys “R” Us filed paperwork in bankruptcy court that will result in the liquidation and sale of all its roughly 800 U.S. locations. Sadly, the move contradicts earlier reports that Toys “R” Us believed it could keep certain stores running and was looking to close only about 144 stores.
Toys “R” Us is a beloved symbol of childhood for the millions of people who’ve been shopping at the retailer for decades, so this latest announcement is certainly gloomy news. “This is a profoundly sad day for us as well as the millions of kids and families who we have served for the past 70 years,” CEO Dave Brandon said in a statement.
In an interview with USA Today, Toys “R” Us spokesperson Taylor O’Donnell said gift cards will be good for the next 30 days. (Once a company files for bankruptcy, it doesn’t technically have to honor gift cards — so if you have any sitting in your wallet, it may be a smart idea to use them quickly.) At the time it filed for bankruptcy, Toys “R” Us also said its stores would still accept returns, so it’s a good time to bring back those unwanted gifts if you’ve been procrastinating.
Why is my Toys “R” Us closing?
A wildly popular toy retailer since 1950 (who among us didn’t want to be a “Toys R Us kid”?), Toys “R” Us announced it was voluntarily filing for bankruptcy on Monday, September 18, 2017. The chain released the news just weeks before the holiday shopping season moved into full swing.
Like most brick-and-mortars, Toys “R” Us has struggled to hold its own against online retailers like Amazon while battling the fierce competition from large chain stores like Walmart and Target, which can drive down toy prices. The company’s chapter 11 bankruptcy filings was meant to bring it some much-needed help restructuring its $5 million in debt.
Dave Brandon, the company’s chairman and CEO, said at the time of the filing that, “The changes will “provide [Toys “R” Us] with greater financial flexibility to invest in our business, continue to improve the customer experience in our physical stores and online, and strengthen our competitive position in an increasingly challenging and rapidly changing retail marketplace worldwide.”
Need a pick-me-up? Watch the video below to find out what Prince George’s favorite toy is.