Is Toys-R-Us Still Open – What Happened to This Iconic Store?
The short answer is no - Toys-R-Us is no longer open and has closed all of its stores across the United States. It’s hard to be a kid – or a kid at heart – and not be at least a little upset about the recent closing of Toys-R-Us. Many of us grew up with the iconic toy store, and it’s sad to think that future generations of kids won’t be able to be “Toys-R-Us Kids”. But as a toy company, it’s important for us at Safari Ltd to ask – what does its closing mean for toys, and what is the future of the toy industry now that one of the biggest players in the game has shut its doors?
Why Did Toys-R-Us Close?
This is a complicated question, and there are likely many right answers. Many news outlets have extensively covered the reasons for Toys-R-Us’s bankruptcy and closure. The popular opinion seems to be that online giants like Amazon have killed retail chains like Toys-R-Us, but the reality is more complex.
When Toys-R-Us was bought by the firm Bain Capital in 2005, they immediately loaded it up with debt. The purchase happened long before Amazon was the retail juggernaut it is today, at a time when Toys-R-Us was already suffering for a variety of reasons. This left it open for someone like Bain Capital to come in and take over, and they acquired Toys-R-Us for $6.6 billion.
Unfortunately, they also saddled Toys-R-Us with about $5 billion in debt. Despite Toys-R-Us making up 15% of all toy sales in the United States, it failed to keep up with its huge debt load. Most of the money it made went to paying off its massive debt, instead of investing in keeping stores fresh and competitive, as retailers like Amazon began to take advantage of this weakness and overtake them. Eventually, it just became too much to bear.
Where Can You Get Toys Now?
Now that one of the largest dedicated toy retail stores is gone, you may be asking “Where am I supposed to get toys?” especially considering that Toys-R-Us had a broad range of toys, from video games to educational toys to building sets to bicycles…it’s hard to get all that variety in one place.
You could go to Amazon or eBay, but it can be challenging to navigate the glut of sellers to make sure you’re buying from a trusted source. Bootleg and knock-off toys are a well-known issue on many online retailers that allow third party sellers.
That’s why, if you can, it may be best to purchase directly from the toy company if you know what you want. Many manufacturers (Safari Ltd included) offer direct sales of their product, so you can be sure what you’re getting is legitimate and backed by the actual toy maker.
If the idea of ordering from half a dozen different company websites sounds daunting, you can always search for a local independent toy store in your area (yes, they do still exist). Agencies like The Good Toy Group and ASTRA (the American Specialty Toy Retailers Association) can help you find an independent retailer in your area, so you can keep finding the toys you want while supporting a local business at the same time, and still preserve that special feeling of taking a trip to the toy store.
Safari Ltd to the Rescue
Though it may seem tough to keep the joy of play alive in times when cutthroat business practices prevail, at Safari Ltd we will always champion the value of playing with a good toy! We offer a huge range of educational toy options, from our tried and true animal and dinosaur figurines, to our dragons and mythical creatures designed to spark imagination, and our Safariology line that helps kids get interested in science and STEM fields at an early age. So don’t lose hope! As long as we’re around, you’ll always be able to find Toys That Teach.