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Toys R Us Announces Closing of 800 U.S. Stores

Times are changing for the beloved toy store.

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Gone are the days where Toys R Us commercials would cycle through each holiday season, leaving children with an impossibly large wish list and parents with empty wallets. Today, the New Jersey-based toy store announced that they will be closing all 800 of their stores in the United States, and fans of the store were not happy. Check out what people had to say about the closing on Twitter:

The store opened its doors for the first time in June 1957. Charles P. Lazarus, who was operating supermarkets at the time, opened his first store solely dedicated to childhood toys. Inspired by the efficiency of customers having their own cart and pre-shelved items at the supermarket, Lazarus implemented a similar model to Toys R Us.

Throughout its nearly 70-year old run, the store saw immense success, even expanding into new stories such as ‘Babies R Us’. The company expanded worldwide in Asia, Africa, Europe, and New Zealand, bringing millions of dollars into revenue as kids unwrapped presents full of the most coveted Barbies, Furbies, and Hot Wheels. According to financial analyst Stephanie Wissink, Toys R Us accounted for nearly 1/5 of all toy sales in the United States, and employed over 30,000 people in their 800 US-based stores.

With all of the success, how did a store like Toys R Us go bankrupt? The answer might lie in the constantly shifting commercial landscape.

With Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers lowering the cost of toys and speeding up shipping, Toys R Us needed to adapt in order to survive. Unable to adjust their prices to meet the new consumer expectation, the store accumulated debt just to keep afloat. Not to mention the shift in technology and its impact on childhood toys. No longer are finger skateboards and hacky sacks enough to meet the consumer need when technology has digitized childhoods.

With a giant like Toys R Us going dark, time will tell what the fate is for the rest of retail.

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Julia is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Riverside, studying Public Policy with an emphasis in Social and Cultural Policy. While she’s currently on a gap year to help with Hurricane Harvey relief, Julia is a 5x author, a contributor for the Los Angeles Times, and frequent visitor of Disneyland. You can contact her at juliaschemmer@gmail.com.

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