CHICAGO (CBS) — Friday is last call for one of the most recognizable names in retail, as the last remaining Toys “R” Us stores will close their doors for good.
“It’s something that I grew up with, and to see it now empty, it’s sad. It’s heartbreaking,” said Toys “R” Us shopper Dawn Baker.
After more than 60 years as the nation’s biggest name in toys, the company fell on hard times. Attempts to alleviate mounting debt failed, and the once-dominant brand filed for bankruptcy last fall, seeking protection from creditors before the holiday shopping season.
The bankruptcy move provided some reassurances to vendors that it would be able to pay for merchandise leading up to the holidays.
But the holidays apparently didn’t to play out as Toys “R” Us had hoped, and he company announced in January that it would shutter about 180 stores. Two months later, the company announced it would close or sell all of its remaining 735 stores in the U.S.
“A combination of the structure of the company, plus the advent of an online shopping universe just made survivability impossible,” CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger said.
Will the Toys R Us name and mascot disappear forever? An auction for the company’s name, baby shower registry and various trademarks is set for late July.
The 16-foot tall statue of Geoffrey the Giraffe that greeted visitors at Toys R Us headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey will be moved to a children’s hospital in the state.
As the last of the U.S. stores close, more than 30,000 workers will be looking for work.
Toys R Us’ troubles have also shaken some big toy makers like Mattel and Hasbro.
Customers who were still devoted will be looking elsewhere to shop.
Retailers like Walmart and Target are expanding their toy aisles to fill the hole, while Party City is opening 50 pop-up toy shops this fall.