Toys R Us to close or sell all 800 remaining stores

The company filed bankruptcy last year with billions in debt so this doesn’t exactly come as a shock. Still, for those of us who grew up before the internet, this was the place you got to go for your birthday or the place your parents went shopping before Christmas. The chain’s iconic name may not be lost for long though. The Washington Post reports there is an offer being made which could keep up to half the stores going under different ownership:

A group of toy makers led by MGA Entertainment, the giant behind brands such as L.O.L. Surprise!, Little Tikes and Bratz on Wednesday submitted a bid to buy Toys R Us’s Canadian arm, which includes 82 stores, according to Isaac Larian, MGA’s chief executive. He added that he is also looking into buying as many as 400 U.S. stores, which he would seek to operate under the Toys R Us name.

“There is no toy business without Toys R Us,” Larian said, noting that he sold his first product to the chain in 1979. “It’s a big deal and I’m going to try to salvage as much of it as possible.”

The store started as a single location in Washington, DC selling baby cribs:

Toys R Us got its start as a baby furniture shop in Washington’s Adams Morgan neighborhood in 1948. It didn’t take long for Charles Lazarus, who founded the company at age 25, to realize he could make a lot more money selling toys than one-off cribs at Children’s Bargain Town. He renamed his business Toys R Us and created an emporium of exclusive products and ever-rotating inventory.

As an adult, I realize the company is failing because the internet is just more efficient than big box stores. All of the same toys and brands will still be available somewhere else, probably on Amazon and at WalMart. I get it. But it’ll be a shame if kids don’t have that experience of walking into a big store full of all the toys they can imagine and plenty they’ve never heard about. No e-tailer can replicate that online. So I hope some of the stores stick around for a while longer.

Here’s a sample of ads featuring the famous song: