Well, here we go again. Another US retailer biting the dust. I have to admit, my reactions to the news these past couple of days has ranged from gloominess to anger towards the idiots who have let this happen to what is the last dedicated toy store chain. While increased competition has hurt Toys R Us, it seems the end began in 2005 when they were taken over by a leveraged buy out by three companies that borrowed over 5 billion and then dumped that massive debt into Toys R Us itself. So, after a little research, I've found Toys R Us is the victim of the same crap that brought us the crash of 2008. The first years of the 21st Century up until 2008 were called the era of the mega buy out. Basically, companies were being bought out left and right by venture capitalists who would rack up mass amounts of debt to do so. Sort of like the morons who were buying new houses every five years and piling up debt on debt on debt. So, in a nutshell, Toys R Us is the fallout from 2008 still happening. Yes, online competition like Amazon has hurt them, but they would have been in far better standing if they hadn't been forced to swallow the debt these investors shoved down their throat in 2005. Of course, these investors won't ever have to account for their failure
I admit, I don't have the childhood memories of Toys R Us a lot of people do. I only got to see Toys R Us and Children's Palace once as a kid. My dad was the main driver in the household and did not like traveling on the interstate or to Canton, Ohio where these stores were at. Still, I can still remember the wonder from that one visit and really feel bad for the kids of today and the future. Even now, I am still a kid at heart at times and recently Toys R Us has been a go to for items I have been looking for. Just this past year they were the only place for me to find the Tiny Arcades and they JUST brought out the My Arcade line. Yes, they aren't quite the Toys R Us of the glory years, but I think we will be a bit poorer without them. The only hope now is that a 'grassroots' movement might happen with smaller, private toys stores taking up some of the slack. There is some of that happening in my area already. If not full year-round shops, perhaps we might be able to see the big, seasonal wonders that used to be a staple of department stores reappear. I don't care how big Amazon gets, there is still a need for that wonder of walking into a shop filled with toys.