Toys R Us files Chapter 11

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Toys R Us files Chapter 11

Postby scotland » September 19th, 2017, 8:15 am

Toys R Us has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, to handle their massive debt and declining sales. This is not Chapter 7, for liquidation, but we just saw Radio Shack go through Chapter 11 in 2015. Radio Shack was mostly restructured into Sprint stores, then two years later, their new owner filed Chapter 11 again, sold off everything, including the brand a few months ago.

We could then be seeing the departure of Toys R Us from the marketplace.

I bring this up because some of us have memories - especially from about 1985-1995 - of shopping (or aisle browsing) for video games at those stores (and their flyers). Things are always evolving since at least the Sears Catalog in the 1880s put pressure on local stores. I have good memories of shopping at many of these, but also recognize they were big corporate entities that focused on price over service, and put a lot of stress on smaller local stores in their day too. Now, these giants are threatened with extinction of their own, replaced first by big box mass merchants like Wal-Mart, and later by physical product online retailers like Amazon, and digital download marketplaces like Steam, and it won't stop there.

The big box stores, including Circuit City, Blockbuster and Toys R Us, have a place in video game history, but it looks like mostly just history now.

Any favorite Toys R Us (or other big box store) memory?


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Re: Toys R Us files Chapter 11

Postby pacman000 » September 19th, 2017, 10:01 am

The Toys R Us in our are was a bit too far away from my house, and it wasn't in the nicest part of town anyways, so we rarely went. When we did go, it was fun. Closed a few years ago.

I remember walking around K-Mart, drinking an Icee. I had to try on clothes to make sure they fit. Always hated that, but the Icees were nice. K-Mart left our area years ago, before Toys R Us.

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Re: Toys R Us files Chapter 11

Postby pacman000 » September 19th, 2017, 10:51 am

I remember when Walmart began building SuperCenters; it was a BIG deal. One local Walmart built a new building across the street from their old one. It had a McDonald's in it. The McDonald's was in the back of the store; it had large golden arches over it's entrance, and a Ronald McDonald statue on a bench you could sit next to. A few years ago the McDonalds was moved to the front of the store. The old location became part of the deli. Today McDonald's doesn't have an agreement with Walmart; I think the Walmart has a Burger King now. The old building was divided in two; half became a Tractor Supply; the other half became a county building, then a Hobby Lobby.

Another local Walmart built added a new section to their building. I remember it being covered with plastic for months as they prepared.

I remember Super Kmart, Kmart's bigger store. Most K-Marts weren't expanded. They added grocery sections to their normal stores; called it Big-K. Funny, it wasn't any bigger than a regular K-Mark, and it couldn't carry half the groceries of a Super Walmart. I remember going to K-Mart as they closed; they had Pokemon DVDs from the 1st series, and VHS tapes of the Johoto series, but I didn't buy any.

I remember going into another large discounter in the mid-90's, but I don't remember the name. I do remember that they wouldn't let us take our Icees out of their restaurant, so we left the store. Walmart, Target, and K-Mart would let us walk around with our drink; the other chain wasn't maintaining parity! We may have gone back once...when they were closing.

The 90's was a period of contraction in the Big Box market. Discount chains which had built up a lot of stores in the 60' and 70's began to consolidate. Spartan-Atlantic, Caldor, Venture all went under. Zayre sold to Ames, which lasted till about 2001. K-Mart's still around, but only by a thread. Woolworths sold their Canadian Woolco stores to Walmart; the U.S. Woolco stores were closed in the 80's when they couldn't keep up with K-Mart. And the 80's also signaled the end to Gibson's Discount Centers as a company; tho I think a few franchises still survive today.

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Re: Toys R Us files Chapter 11

Postby Retro STrife » September 19th, 2017, 2:57 pm

Hopefully it never goes further than Chapter 11. Usually when stores go out of business, there are other stores that are more than capable of picking up the slack (like when Wal-Mart put stores out of business in the 90s). I feel like that's not true with Toys R Us... since it's the only big national toy store chain, it's like the whole toy industry is really depending on its survival. While Amazon has limitless selection if you know what you're looking for, tons of toy sales come from parents browsing around Toys R Us or kids spending their gift cards there. Toy sales will drop without it, meaning that some toy companies will go out of business too.

Reading Pacman000's post, it's interesting how we have nostalgia for the old stores we used to go to as kids. I feel the same way about shopping at Caldor and Ames as a kid, even though I know Wal-Mart is a much better store in most ways. My town has a K-Mart in it, which I love walking around, because it really feels like going back to the '90s. I visited it for the first time when I moved here a year ago, and I felt like I was walking into a Caldor in 1995. But no one shops there, so I don't know how much longer it'll survive.

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Re: Toys R Us files Chapter 11

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 19th, 2017, 9:42 pm

Toys R Us jumped the shark when they got rid of the glass booth up front lined with wall-to-wall video games.
It was the place of dreams! Only head honcho store managers had the magic key to enter it.
If I managed to get into one of those booths back in the day I would still be there.

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Re: Toys R Us files Chapter 11

Postby jon » September 20th, 2017, 10:27 pm

That was really the heyday for Toys R Us, the late 80's. The NES was amazing to shop for at Toys R Us with the whole process of going to the booth in the back.

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