Walking the Toy Aisles/Toys R Us Rumors

Toys R Us is rumored to be closing all their US-based toy stores following their financial struggles that left the company in debt for $5.2 billion dollars, stemming from an untimely leveraged buyout in 2005, right before the US’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. After a slow holiday season in 2017 and mounting debt, Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September of 2017. Early into the new year, they announced that they’d be closing hundreds of under performing stores, most of which were Babies R Us, in my area, at least. With insiders saying, “Hopes are fading that a buyer will emerge to keep some of the business operating, or that lenders will agree on terms of a debt restructuring”, it looks like the rumors will most likely become reality. Stores in the UK market have already gone into something called “insolvency administration”, which sounds a lot like a company wide liquidation to me, and seems to be a grim premonition of what we’ll shortly be seeing here in the United States. The final court case is Thursday, so we’ll see what happens…

If (when) Toys R Us announces a company wide liquidation, it will literally be the end of an era. There are no other big box toy stores. There are ‘mom and pop’ toy stores, sure, but Toys R Us is the only large chain toy store. Stores like Walmart and Target sell toys, but don’t have the selection you can find at a well stocked Toys R Us. There’s a variety to Toys R Us that I fear won’t be available in any brick and mortar stores, if (when) they shutter the doors for the last time.

I feel sorry for the generation of children who won’t be able to walk into a Toys R Us, gift card in hand, and have such a huge variety of toys on the shelves, just waiting to be taken home and played with. Seeing a toy in person is such a better gauge of quality than just seeing it on Amazon and hoping the promo photos and reviews are accurate. Yes, children nowadays are drawn to digital entertainment, but there will be a time where traditional play comes back in style. Without a Toys R Us to shop at, with such variety, half the fun of toy shopping will be gone.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

My mom and I went to our local Toys R Us Sunday to look around. It’s not on the closing list, as of right now. Even so, it was kind of sad looking. The shelves were not getting stocked. There were huge gaps on shelves with brands that usually are well stocked all the time. There was even an empty display with literally nothing on it. Interestingly, it was the busiest we’ve seen Toys R Us to be in a while. There were so many families in the store shopping, even a birthday girl wandering around. The line of customers waiting to check out was long, winding back to at least three or four aisles into the store. It was quite surprisingly to see such a crowd. It made me wonder if people with gift cards or membership rewards were using them ‘just in case’ the stores closed this week, leaving gift cards and membership rewards useless.

I’ll miss Toys R Us a lot if (when) it goes into liquidation. True, the prices were always a little bit higher than other stores and they refuse to go down on prices until years past a products popularity, but they are the only big box toy store around and one of the few fun stores to wander around.

So, after that long winded lead in, here’s Walking the Toy Aisle! There, honestly, weren’t a lot of dolls on the shelves at any of our usual haunts. Coupled with the disappointing showing of dolls at New York Toy Fair, I don’t think we’ll have a doll filled 2018, unfortunately.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I’m not a fan of the new “Barbie and the Rockers”, but these are kind of cute. The idea of having a Kelly/Tommy sized piano is tempting.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Our stores pretty much stopped stocking Monster High, except for a lone few dolls. Frankie’s little sister is one of them they did decide to stock. Of all the new siblings Mattel has released, Frankie’s is probably the cutest. The un-articulated body is sad, but the face on Frankie’s kid sister is cute!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I thought these superhero mini figures were kind of fun. They’d definitely fit in with any of the Little Kingdom figures you may have gathered over the years.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

We found this Elizabeth Taylor doll at the Mattel outlet. They did a great job on her, I think! She looks a lot like I’d expect Elizabeth Taylor to look.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Also seen at the Mattel outlet, this is a super cute retro Barbie! I love the pig tails!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

There were a lot of the larger Ever After High sets at the Mattel outlet– should have been the first sign that Mattel was losing interest in the line. At Toys R Us, the line was on clearance. Some stores have stopped stocking it all together.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I don’t know what to think about these mini Shibajuku Girls, the Shiba-Cuties. I think I prefer the normal sized dolls. These are nice, but their faces are a little weird.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I like the vibe of Tokidoki, though I don’t own much (if any) merchandise from them. Donutella and Chocotella are adorable! Barbee0913 is a fan. I may have to pick them up and save them for Christmas.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Flipkins are the smaller friends of Flip Zee Girls. Surprisingly, the Flip Zee Girls review on my channel did really well. If you missed it, click here!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Barbie’s had some out there looks lately– Camping Fun Barbie is cute! Her face, her outfit– I like it!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I also like that Mattel is releasing furniture and outfits. The furniture is great, because you could use it in any doll house, not just the Dreamhouse. And the clothing? I love it! The Saturday morning cartoon fan in me is happy with the Carebears and Sanrio themed outfits!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I don’t collect Shopkins, but these new Wild Style animals are fun. They’d make good birthday presents, I think!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

My mom and I had to pick up a Molang surprise toy– and it was so much fun. As you push each layer (like a Push Pop), a new toy is unveiled. The toys are small, but cute.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I found the My Little Pony movie to be good, but not great. The toys are adorable, though! I ran out of room for most of my ponies, but I definitely will be adding a Sea Pony to my collection eventually!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Christmas must be over– Fingerlings are back. And they have the Sloth (now sold everywhere, not just Walmart). Apparently, the sloth moves slower than the regular monkey.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Hello 1980’s! Colorforms are back– for a limited time.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

There were so few dolls at Toys R Us that this was my favorite thing from this particular visit. The cover felt so nice and, really, you can’t go wrong with a Pokeball on the cover of your trading card binder. My idea is to use this to hold art cards, since I’ve run out of wall space! (Hopefully, Toys R Us still has this, since I haven’t bought it yet.)

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Were I shopping for a baby shower gift, these would be in my cart! I love these teethers!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

It’s a cat in a banana. I have no idea why the cat lives in the banana, but how cute is Bananya?! On a side note, it’s really weird seeing all these anime inspired products at Toys R Us! (Even weirder seeing them at Barnes and Noble!)

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I really like what Mattel is doing with the Barbie and Crayola partnership!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Tomb Raider Barbie is pretty awesome. The face is pretty unique. I like her determined expression.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Throwback to 1985 with Day to Night Barbie! I had this doll as a kid (and still do as an adult)!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Ken cosplays as– Emma Swan (from Once Upon a Time)? The red jacket throws me off, but the rest is pretty neat.

What have you seen on your walks through the toy aisles? Let us know in the comment area!

Advertisements

March 13, 2018. Tags: . Uncategorized.

6 Comments

  1. Jacqui replied:

    Thanks for a great article/review. Even with the sorry state of your TrU stores, it still makes me realize just how much more Barbie items you get in the US compared to here in Australia (almost every doll/set you mentioned), lol!

  2. Jan Mayszak replied:

    Last time I was at ToU I picked up their version of the American Girl doll. It was so much Alice In Wonderland was marked down really cheap but I had already hit my limit with other things that day. They seemed to have a lot of dolls the day I was there(two weeks ago).

  3. Taswegian1957 replied:

    I agree with Jacqui, even with the sorry state of the store you have Barbies and outfits that we just don’t see here. We don’t have TRU in Tasmania but I have happy memories of visiting the one in Adelaide Barbie and Barbie related products took up the best part of two aisles with Disney, Bratz, Steffi Love and other fashion dolls taking up the rest of the second one usually. This was in the late nineties and Naomi and I loved browsing in there. We’d go to all the other department stores that sold Barbie but always ended our trip at TRU where we would look at all the other toys as well. It is sad that today’s children won’t get to do that. I miss it nearly as much as I miss the toy department at John Martins our favourite department store in Adelaide now sadly departed as well. Even though I do buy dolls online a lot I would rather see them in a shop where I can get a better idea of the facial expression and whether she looks well made. You can only tell so much from photos.

  4. Helen Egeler replied:

    Hi! Very sad indeed! I live in Michigan and our store is closing. As a collector, I prefer to see the dolls before buying; as a Grandma I liked going with grandkids. I loved seeing their eyes get huge and so excited by the choices! My daughter has been taking her kids there for several years to do a toy haul to donate to Toys For Tots that the Marines are partnered with to deliver toys – our store had a huge donation bin just in side the doors of the store, and a huge vehicle outside in the parking lot for anyone to donate toys to the Marines. That will all end so soon! What a loss! Reminds me of the song–” the day the music died”. These are the days of the joy of toys will certainly shrink.. Helen

  5. Anonymous replied:

    Here from Las Vegas. Our main TRU stores are fine but they are closing two Babies R Us stores around town.

  6. Beatrix replied:

    Kids’ interests are becoming ever more digital so maybe reminiscing on what kids will miss out on based on our memories of what toys meant to us once is not an accurate comparison. There was a time when I couldn’t imagine paper newspapers disappearing. I’d like to think something else will evolve, like cheaper and better 3-d printers maybe and toys that can be bought (and made) like books on a kindle. (Although Makies didn’t do that well did they?) Kids seem to like squishies, rement, tsum tsums — toys from Korea and China that seem to have thriving retail toy stores with enticing selections although the “activity” these encourage seems mainly to be “shopping” and “accumulating.” Maybe stores that stock these will also fill the void, but again our buying habits and price will dictate what the landscape looks like in the future.. The way stores like Target, Walmart, Tuesday Morning, BarnesandNoble and of course ebay and Amazon have increased our buying options it’s made it very difficult for brick and mortar toy stores to survive. I’m thinking there might be more meetups and collector events to trade and sell which you also see more and more of on Youtube. Who knows? What comes out of this might be different but not so bad….unless even the societal concept of “childhood” changes too. We once played with pickup stix, jax, rope, paper dolls, hopscotch, blanket forts, these toys were crude but they sparked our imagination. If play is really how children learn to interact with the world, with everything technologized and virtual environments I wonder whether anything is being lost in the process in the act of our kids’ way of dreaming, thinking, and processing information. The fact of ToysRus possibly disappearing opens up some fascinating questions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trackback URI

%d bloggers like this: