This is one piece of news that I wish to avoid, but I guess we need to address the elephant in the room. Since the news broke out that Toys R Us have filed for bankruptcy last September, followed by the underwhelming holiday sales, and now, with the recent liquidation of its UK branches, everything is now downhill for the retail giant.
Just a few moments ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that Toys R Us employees in the US were officially informed that the struggling retailer will now be closing all of its US stores which will threaten the livelihood of 33,000 jobs once it’s 700 and more US stores finally shuts down. The sad news was given by TRU Chief Executive David Brandon at the company’s Wayne, N.J. headquarters. Liquidation papers will be filed Wednesday evening, setting things in motion before the bankruptcy hearing on Thursday.
“I have always believed that this brand and this business should exist in the U.S.,” Brandon disclosed on a follow-up conference call with staff. He partly puts the blame to retailers and customers who shopped elsewhere during the holiday season and added that everyone will feel TRU’s absence. They “will all live to regret what’s happening here,” Mr. Brandon said.
Other than closing all of its UK and US stores, Toys R Us will also cease operation of its stores in other parts of the world such as in France, Spain, Poland, and Australia. It’s also looking forward to selling its operations in Canada, Central Europe, and Asia. They are virtually shutting everything down, as Brandon puts it.
There are many reasons cited for TRU’s demise, both external and internal such as the tight online competition among other retail giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Consumer behavior has also changed dramatically where more and more consumers are getting accustomed to buying things online. Couple that with billions of dollars of debt accumulated through the years, then this is a very sad case indeed of how a once-mighty giant has fallen.
Our hearts go to the thousands of TRU employees who are now facing an uncertain future, to the AFOLs who have TRU as a significant part of their childhood, and for the next generation who will never know what it means to have the “walking into a TRU store” experience.
How do you feel about TRU’s US stores closing down? What’s the status in your local TRU store? Share your thoughts and comments below.