Why ToysRus is closing?

Since September 2017, ToysRus entered backruptcy but they took a loan of US$3.1 billion to make it a leaner business and hopping during year end holidays there will be chances of turnaround. However things didn't quite turned up as they expected.

So here we are, Toysrus is closing all stores in US and UK currently.

I love toys as a kid and often I spent my parents shopping time to delay myself at the toys department for as long as I can. When I heard ToysRus is opening in Singapore in the mid 1980s, I was overjoyed. I remember the first time I stepped into ToysRus it was like a dream come true. The whole stores are filled with loads of toys. He-man, M.A.S.K, Thundercats, Starwars, LEGO, Playmobil and others. Even without money, I was happy to just look at it.

The same feeling never fade when I grew older and now being a father, that is one place I would often bring my kid to and on some occassion buy some toys (most of the time is for myself :P).

Even when I was oversea like Taiwan, Hongkong, Malaysia and even Australia, ToysRus would be one place I will visit to see the different toys that location is selling and compare the price difference. Regardless having a Star card for ToysRus, the same card do not seems to be accepted once you are out of Singapore.

Now the news of ToysRus is closing in US and UK and it make most of the Toy collectors and kids to face the fact that there will not be a big toy store to go to in the future.

Lots of discussion had broken out and here are some reasons I gathered from the ground.

Kids don't play with toys anymore
This I do not agree. If you take away mobile tablet or phone from the kids, the kid would play with toys. In fact playing with toys is the only time they create something. yes they create storyline and characters. Playing game is only single interaction that you go according to the rules of that game.

Most parents would give the kid a mobile tablet to distract them instead of buying toys. Plus some games on the tablet are free to download but to buy a toy cost money and looking the price tag some parents may not consider and toys take up space too.

However a toy has it sentimental value to the child who can look back and remember the adventure he or she has with that physical toy if he still keep it. Can a game do that? Also you can take photo with the toy but you cannot take photo of your childhood with your game. :)

People shop online now
I do agree some of the sales were taken away by Amazon as in US, many need to drive hours to hit the store to check what they wanted is it in stock. Online shopping did resolve the issue and play a factor that render physical shop obsolete.

However depending on who you are, walking into a big toy shop and able to look and touch them is a totally experience. This is especially true for kids. You will often see children reaching out and touch and checking every details of toys. Even though all the toys of the same series, each of them are still different (Ask a MISB toy collector and they will tell you every detail they check before purchase. Don't ask me I am not one of them).

Anyway kids to come will never experience the same wonderful feeling to enter a huge shop that is full of toys ready to have a hands-on session.

ToysRus prices are not attractive / more expensive than you know where and where
Firstly in every retail product, there is always a recommended listed price that was set by the maker of that particular toy. From there the retail can sell around that price but not higher. Various retailer will make a decision in the interest of the business to set their own pricing. Some shop would sell cheaper as they can afford to earn lesser but get the volume to offset it.

So when you see certain toys pricing that is distributed in the Mall and notice the new release are selling higher than before, it is the toy maker who increase the price and not the retailer.

So yes ToysRus prices are high because they have overhead and rental to cover. Online lower overhead thus can earn lesser by selling you cheaper.

Products is what people buy not the shop
Personally I am not surprised ToysRus is closing as toy market has not been doing well for years. Gone were the Hey days and collectors are getting into their silver years with home loaded too much  toys and some who are richer renting storage to hold them.

With the flooding of remake or re-released of toys, it tired the collectors.There are too many repaint. Reboot of franchise and best kill off and downplay some legendary character and story line because you think the old must die but still using the same franchise name and characters, that really wear consumer down. The increase of retail pricing of toy has been a luxury standard with all the Premium version products rolling out. What is the worth of the collector series when we know down in couple of years the same character will be remake and released like the LEGO Death Star? How much space do you think collectors have?

In the end, it is the toy makers that has a big part for the fall of ToysRus as consumer are not really spending on the products with that price range. Hopefully Toy maker will take time to evaluate what consumer really can afford and want then but maybe they will be busy facing the fact that 15% of their distribution are no more.

Be mindful that the Toy industry are only less than a century economy. Once you chop too much trees, there will not be anything left.

In closing, Thank you ToysRus for the good memories for many of us. Come what may.

As for the rest of you, Happy Online shopping.

PS: No news as of now for Asia ToysRUs but will share more if Asia ToysRus are closing or change brand.


Alphonse said…
It is unfortunate to hear Toys R Us having to close down their physical stores in the US and other places around the world. Yet, this is the only means for the company to cut losses and keep the store brand sustainable.
Gone were the days of the old. May the new world bring new experiences and memories for the young generations ahead.
chrismandesign said…
I can’t say this news is surprising, I saw it coming, once you get some experience in all the matters related with this hobby, you can feel when something goes wrong and unfortunately there are several factors conspiring to change the collectibles and toys industry as a whole, distributors are not foreign to these changes...

It’s really sad, just like you, I used to enjoy the visits to different malls, department stores and toy stores (there were not much in my hometown so each chance to go there was most awaited)... Virtual purchases are getting stronger over time, saving time and money, and this factor alone plays a critical role in the extinction of large chain toy stores like Toys ‘R’ Us as well as private toys stores in the near future, at least in terms of having a physical place to visit...

I guess everything is becoming more and more impersonal, toys/collectibles purchases are a matter of click here and there, and sometimes it’s not even as easy as it sound, because shopping websites collapse too and sometimes you don’t get what you were expecting, a picture or a video cannot replace completely watching the product in person... Seemingly experiences or good memories don’t help sales too much when it comes to the toys industry and even less when you consider the escalation in prices from the source: manufacturers... =/
LEon said…
@Alphonse I do fear the new generation never have such experience of physical store...

Buying something physical at the point of purchase do have lot of value to choose and see what you buy. You can even select the one that you one among the rest there. Getting online may result in paint job not good and quality issue which is common.
I remember going to Toy’R’Us at Marine Parade when I was a kid and the store is practically like a toy ware house with even those ultra big boxes of G.I Joe vehicles and HE-Man castles. That left me a deep impression. Sad to say that kids these days are more into tablets/ iPad than toys. Good things my kiddos still play figures and LEGO however they spent more time playing games on phone. Those people on toy sale and engrossly looking at toy are most uncle passed the age of 40. A fellow toy collector friend also told me toy collecting trend is on a declining and would soon go away. Man! I’m getting depressed : (
it's a business decision, TRU running out of money, earn small or no profit in many outlets accross the world, failed to pay suppliers (the Habsro, the Mattel and so on) due to various factors (some of it you all have mentioned above) - so while they can still afford to pay staff salary for now, time to wind up and cut loss... maybe some rich Chinese company will buy certain parts of the business... they have plenty of debt, interested buyers need to consider that as well. Anyway, let's just hope for the best, I'm more concern about their staff/workers rather than the company....

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