For an entire generation that has grown up playing with toys, finding news ways of remaining harmless toddlers, the announcement that the celebrated retail store, a giant of a happiness factory- Toys R Us- is closing down 182 of its stores is a news fraught with enough sadness to drown one in a pool of despair. But such are the mean, often unbecoming ways of commerce that often, not even the biggest or brightest names are spared the ax.
The news that Toys R Us s soon to shut down a whopping 182 stores across the United States, out of which 27 are in California alone has brought about a nasty jolt to the toys retail industry. At one time, most noticeably throughout the nineties and early 2000s, Toys R Us was the leading light where an entire world of toys and the paraphernalia were concerned.
Things were far more simpler, kids more sorted and parents, it could be said, more attentive of what their kids needed. Despite the advent of technology, perhaps maybe due to the non existence of social media, the odd kid across America was happy toying away with miniatures and cars and those sort of things. The thing called smartphone hadn’t emerged. Hence, there was no obsession for gadgets. Today, however, things are different. Times have changed. None of Toys R Us’ accessory or gaming produce is any longer the most needed accessory you’d find inside a kid’s harmless closet. In these times of online shopping and buying- a dominant discourse of our time- all the fun a kid wants is available online, with a mere click of a button.
The enormously exciting process of physically visiting a toy store in the neighbourhood, and spending a few hours in the jolly good company of one’s cute looking immobile friends has been instantly wiped out with the advent of hand-held gadgets. With lesser margins and minuscule margins for profitability, smaller retail stores with lower price bands, it is reported, have emerged much to the dismay of a giant like Toys R Us. Who would have thought that come the 2016s or 2017s and one of the most irrepressible names in children’s entertainment would be strangled by bankruptcy? That, believe it or not, is the truth.
Last year in September, 2017, the company filed Chapter 11, bankruptcy protection. The only bright sign in such feisty times for toys retailer is that despite shrinking numbers, Toys R Us still sells 20% of the toys bought in the US. But what will happen by the end of the year?