End of an era: Toys 'R' Us to close all 800 of its U.S. locations

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Mar 15, 2018

If you were a kid in the last 70 years or so, you might have fond memories of going to Toys 'R' Us and picking out a toy, video game, bike, Nerf gun, or pogo stick. With its backward R and seemingly endless selection of products (at least that's how it seemed when we were young), the place is a nostalgic icon for many.

Sadly, that era has come to an end, as the company will be closing all 800 of its American locations, reports The New York Times. While not entirely unexpected (Toys 'R' Us filed for bankruptcy in September), the move will unfortunately affect over 30,000 jobs.

In an audio recording obtained by the Associated Press, CEO David Brandon can reportedly be heard telling employees that the company will liquidate all U.S. stores and most likely those in Australia, France, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. The ones in the U.K. are already in the process of closing up shop. Those still remaining in Canada, central Europe, and Asia are to be bundled together and shopped around to potential buyers.

What's causing one of the most recognizable franchises to close its doors for good? Simple: Amazon and mobile games. Brick-and-mortar stores like Toys 'R' Us just can't compete with the convenience and efficiency of online shopping. The legendary store, with its classic jingle of "I don't wanna grow up, I'm a Toys 'R' Us kid," will soon be a footnote in the pages of history.

To soften the blow of this news, enjoy a nostalgic TV ad from the '80s.

Toys 'R' Us, as most people know it today, was founded in 1957 by Charles P. Lazarus, the owner of a D.C. children's furniture store, which he started in 1948. He slowly added toys to his products before shifting his focus entirely to the amusement of young kids. The company expanded to 800 locations throughout the United States and later opened around 800 branches in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Establishing its headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey, Toys 'R' Us introduced its famous mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe, in 1969. The brand also expanded to include Babies 'R' Us and Kids 'R' Us, the latter of which failed in 2003.

One of the franchise's most well-known locations was located in Times Square, notable for its working ferris wheel. That location closed in December 2015.