Amidst Financial Woes, Toys 'R' Us Returns to Times Square

NORTH AMERICA–It’s been an interesting past few months for the world’s largest pure play toy retailer.

April 6, 2018

Amidst Financial Woes, Toys 'R' Us Returns to Times Square

The 35,000-square-foot pop-up will feature a series of branded zones for Nerf,

Star Wars

, Barbie and more.


In early September, reports surfaced that the company had hired restructuring advisors at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, to deal with its massive amounts of debt, which total close to $5 billion. Sure enough, less than two weeks later,

Toys ‘R’ Us announced that it was filing for bankruptcy in the U.S. and Canada.

(The retailer's operations outside of the U.S. and Canada, including approximately 255 licensed store fronts and its joint venture partnership in Asia, are not a part of the bankruptcy proceedings.) 

Toys ‘R’ Us says that the "vast majority" of its 1,600 storefronts worldwide are profitable, but a reconsideration of its physical footprint in markets across North America is likely in the cards.

The company was quick to reassure analysts and consumers that Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us stores and websites would remain fully operational throughout the proceedings, including during

the critical holiday sales period, when the retailer makes the bulk of its sales for the year.

And in fact, Toys ‘R’ Us had just made a triumphant, if temporary, return to Times Square one month earlier in August, two years after it closed its Times Square flagship due to rising rent.


Sadly, the indoor Ferris Wheel and life-size Barbie Dreamhouse of lore have not made a reappearance, but who knows what’s around the corner?

Especially since chief executive officer Dave Brandon is touting the bankruptcy proceedings as “the dawn of a new era” at the company.

“We expect that the financial constraints that have held us back will be addressed in a lasting and effective way,” says Dave Brandon, chairman and chief executive officer, Toys 'R' Us. “Together with our investors, our objective is to work with our debtholders and other creditors to restructure the $5 billion of long-term debt on our balance sheet, which will provide us with greater financial flexibility to invest in our business, continue to improve the customer experience in our physical stores and online, and strengthen our competitive position in an increasingly challenging and rapidly changing retail marketplace worldwide.

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