This hasn’t been confirmed by any official announcements, but given that the news comes from Bloomberg, isn’t just a run-of-the-mill rumor. In short… the days of TRU as a chain could very well be numbered, and they could end up as the biggest casualty yet of the Retail Apocalypse. We’ve reported on the confirmed closures already, and the rumored closures that could follow… but apparently it gets worse. After going into bankruptcy last year, it doesn’t seem like anyone is eager to bail out the company with a purchase or further loans, and they are looking at the sad end of the chain that defined a whole lot of our childhoods (and took a whole lot of our money as adults).
I also reported on the down sales for LEGO, and that it was even worse for Mattel and Hasbro, and that seems to have as big of an effect on TRU. I’m not a fan of Toysrus by any means, but this is awful for the employees at the stores and even the home offices (don’t worry about the excs, they’re still getting millions in bonuses… but that’s a different rant). Plus, even with the bad pricing… there was always something fun about walking around a TRU. And I’m sure people my age remember the dreams of those shopping-spree contests they had back in the 80s, and talking to friends about the path you would take and what you would get (it was all video games for me… that and the GI Joe Aircraft Carrier).
More than that, the Babies-R-Us half is a great place for parents to find a lot of stuff that isn’t easy to find elsewhere or in a lot of varieties, like sunglasses, some clothes, and even licensed clothing. There’s always the possibility that someone could decide to swoop in and try to save the business, but it seems far more likely that someone will pick the bones instead to grab a name and some stores to turn into something else, given that the company hasn’t found saviors in other countries where they were struggling.
This makes me really sad.
I get the same sinking feeling from this as when Tower Records went under. Even if you didn’t buy anything, just the pleasure of being able to browse through “deep catalog” was a unique experience. People still like to shop in person, but maybe toys are becoming more “commoditized.”
I just bought seven of the Ultimate Batmobile polybag, and there’s a thought in the back of my mind that this could be the _last_ polybag I buy at TRU. It’s not just that it’s Bloomberg reporting this, but that if you read through it, it sounds very, well, sound.
It’s like we’re moving more towards a world where you don’t own any of your stuff. You just rent content that you view on your phone, which the phone company technically owns until around the time when you’re ready to get an upgrade.
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