Looks like Toys ’R’ Us kids will have to grow up after all: By Friday, the company’s remaining stores are all set to be closed.
Saddled with $5 billion in debt from a 2005 leveraged buyout and facing stiff competition from online retailers like Amazon, Walmart and Target, the 71-year-old company filed for bankruptcy in September, hoping to restructure. It wasn’t to be.
Its disappearance from US highways and malls marks the end of an era in retail — and a chapter in American cultural history.
“I bought all [my kids’] presents and bikes from there,” a New Jersey mom told CNBC. “I remember the last time I walked in there . . . and walked down the aisles feeling overwhelmed with emotions because my kids were too old for the store.”
With its closure, parents and former Toys ’R’ Us kids everywhere are surely experiencing similar nostalgia. The stores, after all, were a staple for families and closely associated with must-have items: Tickle Me Elmos, Easy Bake Ovens, Game Boys, Hot Wheels cars, Beanie Babies, Legos…
Sure, there’ll always be new toys and new places to get them. And who knows? The company might return one day; investors were said to be eyeing some kind of reboot.
But corporate churn — new companies, ideas, people — keeps the economy humming. Indeed, one day we might be wiping away tears for the death of, say… Amazon. And rejoicing in what comes next.
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