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Hawkwing74
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End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:57 pm

http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/15/news/co ... index.html

It looks like all stores will close. I have a lot of fond memories of the local TRU as a kid. They always had good Lego selection, or GI Joe, even Commodore 64 video games.

When I was a kid, my dad let us pick either the Star Wars Millenium Falcon or the Death Star from Kenner. I made the wrong choice with the Death Star, which was a piece of crap which quickly fell apart.

I can remember buying one of my all time favorite games, Wasteland, circa 1986, for the Commodore 64. 4 5 1/4" floppy disks just to run the game. My dad was looking at it and he's like "This looks a little dark and violent". I am not sure how I tricked him that it wasn't. Though the violence was all text, not like today's games. There were also prostitutes in the game and you could catch an STD but he did not find that out. :o

The one I used growing up was already closing in the first wave. I guess I'll take the kids over one more time to the one near me, and get some stuff.

I also wonder if their "clearance" sales will be real, or the sham sales like what was used at Borders. That's where a 3rd party jacks up all the prices before the big "discounts."
 
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:04 pm

Hawkwing74 wrote:
I also wonder if their "clearance" sales will be real, or the sham sales like what was used at Borders.


Sham.

For almost everything, other than literally the fixtures of the store, it's end-user merchandise in boxes that some reseller can dispose of for nominal prices via another channel.

It's easy to imagine. If you could pick up it yourself off the shelf, drive to a nearby Walmart or whatever and put it on that shelf to be sold at essentially the same price, why would -you- expect to get any real discount? You want even 5% off that lego castle? So does this reseller, plus he will take all of them, now.

Maybe big and odd stuff like playsets...?
 
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:28 pm

As our son grew, we had less and less reason to visit. Way back when, it was the place to get bundles of chewies and crunchies. But Costco, Target, etc became competitive and had grown up stuff as well, so trips to them were easier to agree on.

Then everyone went shopping online in the mid-2010s and forums were filled with advice to first case Toys R Us before ordering the same models from Amazon or EBay. Signs of the times.
 
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:40 pm

When I was a kid, the ones in the Chicago area were called "Bargain Town USA": https://www.chicagosextinctbusinesses.c ... -store.php
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:40 pm

People are going to sorely miss brick and mortar when they are gone. No customer service, no ability to get a real look and feel for quality, no instant return and swap for a fault product. Never mind that when the only means to get an item is to have it shipped, eventually UPS and others will catch on that they can charge any price and you will HAVE to pay if you want it.

Toy makers as going to get a swift kick in the butt when the market if flooded with the inventory.
 
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:01 pm

[quote="liquidsquid" Never mind that when the only means to get an item is to have it shipped, eventually UPS and others will catch on that they can charge any price and you will HAVE to pay if you want it.[/quote]
That's why Amazon is doing more and more of their own shipment so they can control their own destiny.
 
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:15 pm

I think that one way of reading this news is to say that all retail is doomed and that Toys R Us is just another casualty of the e-commerce. That's a popular narrative for a lot of stores and there's a lot of truth behind it, but TRU peaked in the early 90s and had been declining ever since Wal-Mart and Target started to go after the toy business.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:38 pm

Suckage. Toys R Us was the place to buy Nintendo cartridges - even bought Atari 2600 and Intellivision games there. Model ships and planes, too. I haven't set foot in one in more years than I can remember, though.
 
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:39 pm

TurtlePerson2 wrote:
I think that one way of reading this news is to say that all retail is doomed and that Toys R Us is just another casualty of the e-commerce. That's a popular narrative for a lot of stores and there's a lot of truth behind it, but TRU peaked in the early 90s and had been declining ever since Wal-Mart and Target started to go after the toy business.
Sounds similar to the demise of Sears. Hey! Sears outlived Toys R Us!
On second thought, let's not go to TechReport. Tis a silly place.
 
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:40 pm

liquidsquid wrote:
Never mind that when the only means to get an item is to have it shipped, eventually UPS and others will catch on that they can charge any price and you will HAVE to pay if you want it.


As Usacomp2k3 rightfully points out, Amazon is already way ahead of this.

TurtlePerson2 wrote:
I think that one way of reading this news is to say that all retail is doomed and that Toys R Us is just another casualty of the e-commerce. That's a popular narrative for a lot of stores and there's a lot of truth behind it, but TRU peaked in the early 90s and had been declining ever since Wal-Mart and Target started to go after the toy business.


It's not just that, they are crushed under the debt from LBO from a decade ago or so. They needed to grow, but they aren't going to.

It wasn't hopeless, their EBITDA wasn't negative or even minimal.

EDIT: OK the latest was minimal, found the most recent numbers, but it wasn't so minimal just last year. It wasn't like the internet suddenly ravaged them in 2017, I'm guessing the impending impossibility caught up to them operationally.
Last edited by Glorious on Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:47 pm

superjawes wrote:
Sounds similar to the demise of Sears. Hey! Sears outlived Toys R Us!

If you can call the current state of Sears "living".

I bet a lot of people who weren't alive back when Sears was a retail powerhouse can't fathom how they ever managed to build one of the tallest office towers in the world.

Glorious wrote:
It's not just that, they are crushed under the debt from LBO from a decade ago or so. They needed to grow, but they aren't going to.

This. They couldn't put enough cash into upgrading their stores or online presence, because nearly all of their cash flow was being used to service debt.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:56 pm

just brew it! wrote:
superjawes wrote:
Sounds similar to the demise of Sears. Hey! Sears outlived Toys R Us!

If you can call the current state of Sears "living".
They don't want to go on the cart!

just brew it! wrote:
Glorious wrote:
It's not just that, they are crushed under the debt from LBO from a decade ago or so. They needed to grow, but they aren't going to.
This. They couldn't put enough cash into upgrading their stores or online presence, because nearly all of their cash flow was being used to service debt.
$400 million just in debt payments. Ouch.
On second thought, let's not go to TechReport. Tis a silly place.
 
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:05 pm

Glorious wrote:
Hawkwing74 wrote:
I also wonder if their "clearance" sales will be real, or the sham sales like what was used at Borders.


Sham.

For almost everything, other than literally the fixtures of the store, it's end-user merchandise in boxes that some reseller can dispose of for nominal prices via another channel.

It's easy to imagine. If you could pick up it yourself off the shelf, drive to a nearby Walmart or whatever and put it on that shelf to be sold at essentially the same price, why would -you- expect to get any real discount? You want even 5% off that lego castle? So does this reseller, plus he will take all of them, now.

Maybe big and odd stuff like playsets...?

Ugh I remember Circuit City's liquidator... they'd put some phony inflated MSRP on items and claim to be selling them at a discount when they cost more than original retail. :roll:
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:09 pm

just brew it! wrote:
superjawes wrote:
Sounds similar to the demise of Sears. Hey! Sears outlived Toys R Us!

If you can call the current state of Sears "living".

I bet a lot of people who weren't alive back when Sears was a retail powerhouse can't fathom how they ever managed to build one of the tallest office towers in the world.

Glorious wrote:
It's not just that, they are crushed under the debt from LBO from a decade ago or so. They needed to grow, but they aren't going to.

This. They couldn't put enough cash into upgrading their stores or online presence, because nearly all of their cash flow was being used to service debt.

The Sears Wishyour parents could afford itbook was always one of the highest points of my year when I was a kid. I would spend many hours every week poring over all the delightful toys!
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:39 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
liquidsquid wrote:
Never mind that when the only means to get an item is to have it shipped, eventually UPS and others will catch on that they can charge any price and you will HAVE to pay if you want it.

That's why Amazon is doing more and more of their own shipment so they can control their own destiny.

That, and there's still a fair bit of competition in shipping. A shipping-based future means that many more packages to deliver and more opportunities for new courier/delivery business models (Uber Eats, anyone?). UPS, USPS, and FedEx all set their own rates competitively even though they have a lot of infrastructure/handoff sharing these days. And that still leaves enough room for local courier services to do same-day or overnight business shipping in larger urban/suburban areas. Strangely enough I've also been getting some DHL shipments again, I thought they completely shut down their US operations about five years ago, but they must be trying to make a comeback. Seem to always go through the post office for last-mile though, so I assume they're not running a residential truck fleet anymore.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:48 pm

That's too bad, I bought a lot of Lego sets there when I was a kid. Haven't been to one in years though, on account of not having any reason or desire to buy toys these days.

liquidsquid wrote:
People are going to sorely miss brick and mortar when they are gone. No customer service, no ability to get a real look and feel for quality, no instant return and swap for a fault product. Never mind that when the only means to get an item is to have it shipped, eventually UPS and others will catch on that they can charge any price and you will HAVE to pay if you want it.

Toy makers as going to get a swift kick in the butt when the market if flooded with the inventory.

I agree in general, but big box stores like TRU weren't exactly paragons of service and product interaction to start with. One could make a strong argument that their competitors are using the same business model, but are better and more efficient at it.

What I anticipate happening is continued consolidation and culling for five to ten years, at which point the surviving mega-retailers get complacent and start losing out to a new breed of local stores that can keep their prices down by buying direct from the manufacturer or through low cost Alibaba style dealmakers.
 
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:21 pm

NovusBogus wrote:
What I anticipate happening is continued consolidation and culling for five to ten years, at which point the surviving mega-retailers get complacent and start losing out to a new breed of local stores that can keep their prices down by buying direct from the manufacturer or through low cost Alibaba style dealmakers.
You could still see "small stores" return even with mega-retailer consolidation. The big stores could start buying up smaller chains to sell specialty products and/or to serve as demo locations for centralized distribution. They could even set up systems where they sell in-store, but deliver from a warehouse in 0-2 days. Heck, Amazon should just try this in a city where they offer same-day shipping.
On second thought, let's not go to TechReport. Tis a silly place.
 
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:01 pm

Will they send Geoffrey back to Africa??
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:48 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Will they send Geoffrey back to Africa??
That’s not what happens to surplus giraffes.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 6:55 pm

Now where will we go to get that sweet smell of Chinese plastic mixed with kid vomit? Oh well.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:12 pm

Chuckie Cheese maybe? The smell from the pizza should be about the same as the plastic I would think.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:36 pm

From what I can see, kids these days don't even want toys anymore. They would rather want to play on a iPhone or watch Youtube on TV, and those are also cheaper and less clutter to deal with than toys from the parents POV.

Doesn't help that birth rates are falling like a rock all over the globe.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:41 pm

Redocbew wrote:
Chuckie Cheese maybe? The smell from the pizza should be about the same as the plastic I would think.

The two stores are right next to one another in Westlake Plaza in Peoria. Well, not for long, but they have been right together for a long time.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:13 pm

strangerguy wrote:
Doesn't help that birth rates are falling like a rock all over the globe.

Excellent.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:09 pm

LostCat wrote:
strangerguy wrote:
Doesn't help that birth rates are falling like a rock all over the globe.

Excellent.


Birth rates aren't dropping in the developing world. They are still going strong but that discussion will end-up going into R&P territory.

Toy R Us is just another victim of major B&M chains losing out to eCommerce. The only way B&M will survive is catering to lucrative niches that cannot done online or be a massive general department store for common goods that you need ASAP.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:48 pm

Krogoth wrote:
Birth rates aren't dropping in the developing world. They are still going strong but that discussion will end-up going into R&P territory.

It was just a little humor from those of us who can't stand being around children. I'm sure it isn't funny to everyone, but they'll live.

As to TRU...I never really saw a reason to go in there.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:53 am

remember, you were a child once...
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:33 am

Yep, bought a lot of Intellivision games and lego sets and dolls and doll stuff and stompers and... Their open until midnight on Christmas eve was an every year blessing for last minute shoppers like me.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:49 am

Hawkwing74 wrote:
When I was a kid, my dad let us pick either the Star Wars Millenium Falcon or the Death Star from Kenner. I made the wrong choice with the Death Star, which was a piece of crap which quickly fell apart.

I ended up buying the Falcon !! I think it was '79 IIRC. I also bought the X-wing and Darth's Tie Fighter. I think it was like $23 at that time, which was probably about $60 in today's dollars. Sadly, yet another piece of my childhood that needs to be sold, and if I have motivation to do it, I am listing all three on flEbay next week. Wife has been after me for years to sell them, and I want a new toy here for the upcoming warmer weather, so hopefully they go to someone who can display and appreciate them.
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Re: End of an Era - Toys R Us

Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:48 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
remember, you were a child once...

And perhaps that has a lot to do with it.
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