Toys ‘R’ Us, a brand that dates to 1957, has shut its doors for good. The company closed the last of its 735 stores in the United States this week. Once one of the world’s largest toy retailers, the company was felled by slowing sales and insurmountable debt.
Toys ‘R’ Us posted a thank-you message to all of its customers on its website. The message read: “Thanks to each of you who shared your amazing journey to (and through) parenthood with us, and to every grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, and sister who’s built a couch-cushion rocket ship, made up a hero adventure, or invented something gooey. Promise us just this one thing: Don’t ever grow up. Play on!” Outside of the farewell message, the website has been inactive since the company stopped accepting online orders in March.
Back in March, Toys ‘R’ Us filed a motion to liquidate its business in the U.S., citing its huge debts. After a weak Christmas season, creditors decided its operations were worth more in a final sale than as a functioning business. The company’s bankruptcy lawyers and advisers are expected to be paid as much as $348 million in fees.
It is a much different story for the company’s rank and file employees. The company’s thousands of workers will not receive severance after they leave. Although the workers are owed roughly $75 million in severance, they have been told there’s not enough money left after paying the company’s other debts. Helped by the worker advocacy group Rise Up Retail, Toys ‘R’ Us employees have been protesting and demanding new laws regarding retailers and employees severance.
The Toys ‘R’ Us brand will not be disappearing completely. The company’s profitable Canadian stores have been purchased by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., which intends to continue operating them under the Toys ‘R’ Us moniker. Toys ‘R’ Us will also continue to operate in Asia, although in what form remains unclear.