10 Facts About Toys ‘R’ Us, The Childhood Brand That Almost #RIP in S’pore


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With Toys “R” Us filing for bankruptcy just yesterday (September 19), it raised a lot of questions.

And it also got our brains curious about the toy retailer. Is there something we should know about it?

Without further ado, let’s give it up for the top 10 ‘totally okay if you don’t know’ facts about Toys ‘R’ Us that you should know more about.

Hah, see the double negative there?

Prepare your notebooks, peeps. There’s a shit ton of stuff to jot down.

Just kidding. Nobody ever listens in history class. #coldhardtruth

1. What is Toys “R” Us?

Toys ‘R’ Us Inc is an American toy and juvenile-products retailer founded in 1948. Its headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey, in the New York City metropolitan area.

Charles P. Lazarus was the dude that found it, and it started as a Supermart that sold baby furniture.

Well, times sure have changed, eh?

So don’t underestimate that small shop at the corner selling baby clothing.

It could well turn out to be a major franchise in the future. #icanpredictthefuture #butnot4D


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2. It used to have a pretty lame store design

No kidding, from 1968 to 1989, it had this design.

Image: Pinterest

To put it bluntly, it looks like the candy shop Hansel and Gretel were tempted by.

Well, perhaps that’s the image they were going after. Alright fair enough.

Image: Chain Store Age

Ah, this looks way more appropriate. And if you’re not aware this is the one we’ve grown accustomed to.

In America.

Where’s Singapore’s?

Image: Singapore Business Directory

Yeah, kind of boring but it’s the one we know and love.

3. The Messi of Toy Retailers

When Toys “R” Us was at its peak, it was practically untouchable.

In fact, it was considered a classic “category killer”, a business that’s so specialized in its craft that it destroys competition from all stores, whether small or major.

Reminds you of a certain Argentinian footballer, eh?


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4. Mascot

The company introduced its own mascot, called Dr G. Raffe, in 1957.

Image: behindthevoiceactors.com
Image: thatsitmag.com

During 1969, when Toys “R” Us was officially set up, the giraffe was renamed Geoffrey and became the official Toys “R” Us “spokes-animal”.

Thank goodness it was renamed. Dr G. Raffe. doesn’t sound that different from Pedobear, and considering the fact that it’s a mascot for toys…you get what I mean.

5. Decline

Ever since the rise of mass merchants like Walmart, Target and Amazon, Toys ‘R’ Us has lost much of its share in the toy market.

In 1998, it lagged behind Walmart in toy sales.

But the toy retailer refused to give up. In a bid for improvement, it brought in new talents to remodel the company.


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John Eyler (formerly of FAO Schwarz), was the guy it needed, and he launched an expensive plan to re-launch the chain. It backfired, however, and became an unsuccessful venture.

Moral of the story: not every venture reaps rewards.

6. Other brands

Aside from the main company Toys “R” Us Inc., there are other brands too.

Kids “R” Us was a children’s clothing retailer.

Their first location opened in 1983 in Paramus, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York.


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It folded, however, in 2003.

Babies “R” Us is primarily a specialty baby products retailer and has expanded to an estimated 260 locations in the United States.

Toys “R” Us International, is as the name implies, the worldwide marketer of the toy retailer.

It operates 600 international stores and over 140 licensed stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions outside the United States.

FAO Schwarz is a toy retailer that was bought over by Toys “R” Us in May 2006. Its flagship store closed in New York on July 15, 2015, because of rising rental costs, but FAO Schwarz branded toys are still available in Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores.

Toys “R” Us Express is a smaller store concept developed by the toy retailer, that offers a more limited selection of products compared to a normal Toys “R” Us store.

As of June 2010, 600 Express locations have been opened worldwide.

7. Solar power

Toys “R” Us actually experimented with solar power before.


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On April 11, 2011, it announced plans of “covering 70 percent of the roof of its distribution centre in Flanders, New Jersey, with a solar installation.”

The 5.38-megawatt solar project was claimed to be the biggest rooftop solar installation in North America.

8. Online

Long before other companies jumped on the “online delivery service” bandwagon, Toys “R” Us has already explored that option.

In 1999, it signed a ten-year contract with Amazon.com to be the exclusive supplier of toys on the website.

Amazon eventually flouted the contract, by allowing third-party retailers to use its venue to sell toys. Their excuse? Toys “R” Us can’t carry sufficient goods for jack shit. Ouch, burn.

Well, Toys “R” Us didn’t like it and sued the tattle-mouths in 2006.

They won, and in 2009 claimed $51 million, over half of the $93 million in damages they had claimed for.

It didn’t do too bad online, either.

In 2009, it bought over online toy seller eToys.com. Around the same time, it acquired Toys.com for an estimated $5.1 million.

In 2010, Toys “R” Us, Inc. reported that its Internet sales grew 29.9% year-over-year to $782 million from $602 million.

In April 2011, the company announced plans to open a dedicated e-commerce fulfilment centre in McCarran, Nevada.

The company later reported online sales of $1 billion for 2011 and $1.1 billion for 2012. Subsequently, it placed at #29 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Not bad, all that money was worth it.

You can locate them on their main e-commerce sites including ToysRUs.com and BabiesRUs.com

9. Bankruptcy

On 19 September, Toys “R” Us U.S. and Toys “R” Us Canada filed for bankruptcy protection, citing heavy debts as a core reason.

The other countries weren’t affected (not yet anyway). For Singaporeans who are worried about this, we’re not affected either.

But guess who’s the biggest winners here?

Image: Imgflip

10. Operations will continue

Despite the bankruptcy protection filings, the stores in U.S. and Canada will still continue to operate.

So if we have any readers from those regions, you’re best advised to hit the shelves before any further changes occur!

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Featured Image: businessinsider.com