A year without Toys R Us – what changed?

A year without Toys R Us - what changed?
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / Mack Male

Last year Toys R Us was in the headlines all the time. For the wrong reasons. The retailer closed its stores in the US and UK after amassing big debt.

That debt accumulated for years for many reasons. One of them was the fact that more and more people started to shop mostly online.

They were going to the stores mostly to check out the toys in person, but then were looking for better deals online. And Toys R Us relied mostly on promoting unique toys, smaller manufacturers and on the overall experience.

It turned out that’s not enough. The massive stores weren’t getting in enough people and sales. As a result, Toys R Us was left with billions of debt in the US and UK.

Efforts to find a way to restructure the debt or even sell the branches weren’t successful. MGA Entertainment’s Isaac Larian also made headlines with several attempts to buy and save Toys R Us, but to no avail.

Today Toys R Us is still going strong in Canada and several countries around the world. Efforts to return to the US and UK allegedly are also underway. So far though nothing really has happened. There are the occasional news about it, but not much more.

Meanwhile smaller toy companies were said to be suffering as Toys R Us was a strong market for them. The same can be said for big names, too. Both Hasbro and Mattel suffered losses in sales and revenue after Toys R Us shut down.

So, Toys R Us indeed left a void in the toy market. But it seems that void wasn’t too severe. It’s still a problem for smaller brands, but the big ones are already finding alternatives. Also other retailers, including Target and similar, decided to take a page out of Toys R Us’ book and expand their toy selections. This way they also fill that void at least somewhat.

All of this makes the possible comeback of Toys R Us even more difficult. With each passing day people and companies are finding alternatives. This will make the eventual possible comeback quite the challenge.