Toys R Us To Go Dark This Week, But Maybe Not For Good
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Retail toy chain Toys R Us — which went bankrupt last year, stumbled through a poor holiday season and finally announced in March that it will close all its stores — has now reached its endgame. All of its more than 800 U.S. locations are due to shut by Friday, if not sooner.
One of the chain's former CEOs, however, is reportedly at work trying to revive the brand.
Jerry Storch, who served as Toys R Us CEO between 2006 and 2013, is in talks with a number of investors about the matter, including Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., the firm that bought the Canadian unit of Toys R Us, Bloomberg reports, citing anonymous sources.
Besides getting the backing of major investors, Storch would also need to prevail in acquiring the chain’s intellectual property, such as its brand names and logos, at next month's bankruptcy auction. The toy retailer's real estate is being sold separately.
Storch's efforts seem to have been ongoing for some time. Last month, toy mogul Isaac Larian — who made an unsuccessful bid for more than 200 Toys R Us stores — tweeted that he hoped "Jerry Storch and his people succeed," after calling the bankruptcy system in the U.S. broken.
#savetoysrus— Isaac Larian (@isaaclarian) May 21, 2018
Sorry folks. Gave it my my best. The bankruptcy system of the USA is broke. $350 million ( and growing ) on fees for 8 months is just outrageous
I hope Jerry Storch and his people succeed. https://t.co/xvYGEiHXxS
Saving even some Toys R Us locations would be difficult, assuming Storch gets his backing and wins the right to use the brand name. Toys R Us essentially doesn't exist as a major retailer anymore, and presumably, a revived version of it would have be up and running in time for the holiday season, now less than six months away, Bloomberg reports.
Whatever the fate of the Toys R Us brand, its empty stores stand ready to be re-leased or otherwise reused, or razed. The Chicago Tribute reports that Party City Holdco Inc. plans to operate 50 pop-up toy stores from September through the holiday season, possibly in former Toys R Us locations.
The assortment offered at the pop-ups will include items by major toymakers Hasbro and Mattel. If all goes well for Party City in the pop-up venture, the company will probably expand the format in 2019.