Toys "R" Us
|Headquarters||Wayne, New Jersey, United States|
Number of locations
(Chairman & CEO)
|Revenue||US$12.4 billion (2014)|
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts|
Vornado Realty Trust
Number of employees
Toys "R" Us|
Babies "R" Us
The company owns or licenses 866 Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, more than 750 international stores and more than 245 licensed stores in 37 countries and jurisdictions.
Charles P. Lazarus (born 1923) founded Children's Supermart (which would evolve into Toys "R" Us) in Washington, D.C., during the post-war baby boom era in 1948 as a baby-furniture retailer. Its first location was at 2461 18th St. NW, where the nightclub Madam's Organ Blues Bar is located. Lazarus began receiving requests from customers for baby toys. After adding baby toys, he got requests for toys for older children. The focus of the store changed in 1957, and Toys "R" Us was born in Rockville, Maryland. Toys "R" Us was acquired in 1966 by Interstate Department Stores, Inc., owner of the White Front, Topps Chains and Children's Bargain Town USA, a sister toy-store chain to Toys "R" Us in the American Midwest that would later be re-branded as part of the Toys "R" Us chain. The original Toys "R" Us store design from 1969 to 1989 consisted of vertical rainbow stripes and a brown roof with a front entrance and side exit.
At its peak, Toys "R" Us was considered a classic example of a category killer, a business that specializes so thoroughly and efficiently in one sector that it pushes out competition from both smaller specialty stores and larger general retailers. Since the rise of mass merchants like Walmart, Target and Amazon, however, Toys "R" Us has lost much of its share of the toy market, and has fallen behind Walmart in toy sales since 1998.
To improve the company, the board of directors installed John Eyler (formerly of FAO Schwarz). Eyler launched an unsuccessful, expensive plan to remodel and re-launch the chain. Blaming market pressures (primarily competition from Wal-Mart and Target), Toys "R" Us considered splitting its toy and baby businesses. On July 21, 2005, a consortium of Bain Capital Partners LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Vornado Realty Trust invested $1.3 billion to complete a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout of the company. Public stock closed for the last time at $26.74—pennies from the 68-week high, but far short of its all-time high of almost $45 in fourth-quarter 1993 and its five-year high of $31 in Q2 2001. Toys "R" Us is now a privately owned entity. However, the company still files with the Securities and Exchange Commission (as required by its debt agreements).
Geoffrey the Giraffe
Formerly known as Dr. G. Raffe, the company's mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe made his debut during 1957 in print advertisements for Children's Bargain Town. During 1969, when Children's Bargain Town became Toys "R" Us, Dr. G. Raffe was renamed Geoffrey and became the official Toys "R" Us "spokesanimal".
Kids "R" Us
1983–2003, original logo over the Imaginarium logo
1986–2003, last logo
Babies "R" Us
Babies "R" Us operates as a specialty baby products retailer and has grown to approximately 260 locations in the United States. The stores offers an assortment of products for newborns, infants, and toddlers.
A Babies "R" Us store with the 1996–2006 logo.
2007–present (next to the 1986–2006 Toys "R" US logo)
Toys "R" Us, International
In addition to its expansion in the United States, Toys "R" Us launched a worldwide presence in 1984 when the company opened its first international wholly owned store in Canada (70 stores headquartered in Concord, Ontario) and licensed operation in Singapore. Toys "R" Us, International operates more than 600 international stores and over 140 licensed stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions outside the United States, including Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Germany (60), Switzerland (7), Austria (14), Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, among others. The company continues to grow internationally, and made its most recent entry into a new market in October 2011 when it opened its first licensed location in Poland (Blue City).
In 2006, Toys "R" Us purchased remaining shares of Toys "R" Us, Japan from McDonald's Holdings Co., increasing its ownership from approximately 62% to slightly over 90%.
In May 2006, Toys "R" Us, Inc. acquired toy retailer FAO Schwarz including the retailer's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, as well as its e-commerce site, FAO.com. Toys "R" Us closed the FAO Schwarz flagship store in New York on July 15, 2015 citing rising rental costs, but continues to carry FAO Schwarz branded toys in its Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores.
Toys "R" Us Express
For the 2009 holiday-shopping season, Toys "R" Us tried a smaller-store concept to attract customers and 90 "Holiday Express" stores across the United States and Canada were opened. The Holiday Express stores are smaller than regular Toys "R" Us locations, often located in malls, and offer a more limited selection of merchandise than would be available at a stand-alone Toys "R" Us store. Most (if not all) of these 90 stores were opened in shopping-center and mall spaces that had been vacated by store chains closing their doors during the recession (including KB Toys, several of which were taken over by Toys "R" Us). Toys "R" Us's plan was to keep the Holiday Express stores open until early January 2010 and close them shortly thereafter, but the success of so many prompted the company to reconsider and several were kept open. These stores are known as "Toys "R" Us Express". Beginning in June 2010, Toys "R" Us opened a total of 600 Express locations. Four more were converted to Toys "R" Us outlet stores.
Toys "R" Us online
Toys "R" Us launched www.toysrus.com in June 1996.
Following a disastrous Christmas 1999 trading period where it failed to deliver gifts on time, it entered into a ten-year contract with Amazon.com to be the exclusive supplier of toys on the website. Amazon eventually reneged on the terms of the contract by allowing third-party retailers to use its marketplace to sell toys, citing Toys "R" Us's failure to carry a sufficiently large range of goods, including the most popular lines. In 2006 Toys "R" Us won a lawsuit against Amazon and in 2009 were awarded $51 million, just over half of the $93 million damages claimed for in their filing.
It placed at #29 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide for 2012. Toysrus.com is one of the most visited sites in the specialty toy and baby products retail category with an assortment of toys. In addition, Babiesrus.com offers a wide selection of baby products and supplies and access to the company's baby registry.
Looking to expand its web portfolio, in February 2009, the company acquired online toy seller eToys.com from Parent Co., which filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2008. Financial terms were not disclosed. Around the same time, it was reported that Toys "R" Us, Inc. bought Toys.com for an estimated $5.1 million. Today, the company operates Toys.com to list unadvertised and exclusive deals available on its portfolio of e-commerce sites.
In 2010, Toys "R" Us, Inc. reported that its Internet sales grew 29.9% year-over-year to $782 million from $602 million, and in April 2011, the company announced plans to open a dedicated e-commerce fulfillment center in McCarran, Nevada. The company later reported online sales of $1 billion for 2011 and $1.1 billion for 2012
21st century initiatives
Rooftop solar project
On April 11, 2011, Toys "R" Us announced that it plans to cover 70 percent of the roof of its distribution center (located in Flanders, New Jersey) with a solar installation. The company claims this 5.38-megawatt solar project will be the largest rooftop solar installation in North America.
Integrated store strategy
On August 23, 2011, Toys "R" Us Inc. announced it would open 21 new stores before year's end, as part of an overall strategy the company has been pursuing since 2006 to house Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us in the same building. The company says the stores provide more shopper convenience. The privately held toy company said this will include 11 "R" Superstores—which have full-size Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in one location—and 10 stores that will have smaller Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in the same location. The stores will be in 13 states including Alabama, California, Georgia, New Jersey, and Texas. It is also remodeling 23 existing stores so that the two stores will be in the same location.
Toys "R" Us has reportedly implemented high safety standards, and in 2007 vowed to take an aggressive approach towards holding vendors accountable for meeting those standards. Former Chairman and CEO Gerald L. Storch, testifying before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on toy safety in September 2007, said he supported new legislation strengthening toy-safety standards and outlined new initiatives the retailer had set forth to ensure that its customers receive timely information on recalls (including a new website).
In 2008, the company introduced stricter product safety standards exceeding federal requirements. Among the new standards was a requirement for materials inside toys to meet a standard of 250 parts per million of lead for all products manufactured exclusively for the retailer (compared with the federal standard of 600 ppm.) Toys "R" Us also announced the requirement that baby products be produced without the addition of phthalates, which have raised concerns about infant safety. The company has since adjusted its requirements to meet new federal standards enacted with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
<span id=""TRU Transformation"">"TRU Transformation"
In early 2014, Toys "R" Us, Inc. announced its "TRU Transformation" strategy, which concentrates on efforts to fix foundational issues in order to position the company for growth in the future. The company will focus on improving shopping experiences in-store and online. To improve the customer experience, the company plans to manage inventory better, make stores less cluttered and easier to shop, and develop a clear pricing strategy with simpler promotional offers. The company will also focus on integrating its in-store and online businesses more fully.
Christmas season initiatives
In 2013, Quartz.com called Toys "R" Us the largest standalone toy store chain in the world. Since the toy business is incredibly seasonal, more than 40% of the company’s sales come in during the fourth quarter of the year.
In December 2013, eight days before Christmas, Toys "R" Us announced that their stores in the United States will stay open for 87 hours straight. The flagship store of the retailer in New York Times Square was open for 24 hours a day from December 1 up to December 24 – for a total of 566 consecutive hours to cater to shoppers who were mostly tourists. The announcement came after snow and rain caused a nearly 9 percent year-over-year decline in store foot traffic in the United States.
1975–2007 (U.S.), 1985–May 2008 (UK/Ireland), prototype logo
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Interstate Department Stores Inc., announced yesterday the acquisition for "several millions in cash" of the four-store Children's Supermart, Inc., Washington.Alternate Link via ProQuest.
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