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Old 2018-03-09, 12:39 PM   #1
Clay
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Unhappy Toys r us entering liquidation

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...u-s-operations

This is the main USA chain going under; we've known about the UK arm going into administration for a few weeks.
 
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Old 2018-03-09, 04:18 PM   #2
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That's awful but not unexpected. "Buy" a company using the bank's money, download the debt onto the company once you own it and drain every cent of profits out of it that you can instead of paying back the money you borrowed, then act surprised when your business goes under? Totally legit! The employees get screwed, the customers get screwed, the suppliers get screwed, the groups that loaned you the money in the first place get screwed...but Mitt Romney and co. get to walk away a few billion dollars richer instead of winding up behind bars where their ilk belongs. Because somehow using someone else's money that you never intended to pay back to wilfully destroy a healthy company while you extract everything of value is perfectly legal. Capitalism at it's finest!

****ing vultures.

The Canadian division is both profitable and mostly debt-free, and apparently they say that it's "business as usual" and they have no plans for liquidation. I hope they manage to stay afloat but I'm not optimistic about their fate if the US branch goes under. Maybe they'll get sold to local ownership who'll keep the brand going? Or maybe TRU will just abandon the US and the UK and try to keep going with Canadian, Australian and Asian outlets? I don't know how that would effect their partnerships with manufacturers, though. Even though China and southeast Asia have become more of a focus for Hasbro and co. over the last decade, I can't see TRU getting much exclusive product (which was the one big thing they had going for them lately) without a US footprint.

At least you Americans will still have multiple outlets you can buy from if TRU goes under. If TRU Canada closes we're down to Walmart as the only major retailer that still has a legit toy department. Hell, it's practically the only real "department store" left too, since Target died a few years ago, Sears just finished shutting down and Superstore has retreated from being a real department store to become 80% groceries, and The Bay's footprint has drastically shrunk. Giant Tiger is a joke and London Drugs is more of a Walgreens sort of thing at best.
 
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Old 2018-03-09, 07:56 PM   #3
Denyer
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I get the impression in the US TRU isn't shit/overpriced/carrying stock with extensively battered packaging too, whereas I'm surprised the UK branch has lasted this long.

There's a fundamental issue if systems allow for debt to be written onto other companies, but those responsible do deserve extensive jail time or a firing squad.
 
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Old 2018-03-09, 10:02 PM   #4
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This sort of thing is what killed Rover in the UK all those years ago.

The US is usually quite tough on financial wrongdoing, but I suppose the problem here is proving that this kind of weird loan-refinancing is in anyway illegal , which, depressingly, I'll bet it isn't. Irresponsible and morally repugnant, yes.
 
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Old 2018-03-09, 11:20 PM   #5
Cyberstrike nTo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
I get the impression in the US TRU isn't shit/overpriced/carrying stock with extensively battered packaging too, whereas I'm surprised the UK branch has lasted this long.

There's a fundamental issue if systems allow for debt to be written onto other companies, but those responsible do deserve extensive jail time or a firing squad.
I would say that most toys were being sold closer to the MRP at TRU than say Wal-Mart but TRU would carry more stock and stuff like the Titan class Transformers toys than Wal-Mart which is a hit-and-miss (at least in Indianapolis) with some stores having next to nothing and others everything and then some. I saw no more battered toys at TRU than I ever saw at stores like Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, or Meijers.

What pisses me off is that TRU was one of the last stores to offer lay-away all year around that is how I got my Xbox One and PS4 (not at the same time) was putting one in lay-away then waiting a few months then doing it again. K-Mart was the only store to offer the same but they had already stopped selling video games when the Xbox One and PS4 both came out. Wal-Mart does offer lay-away but only starting in late September and ending just before Christmas.
 
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Old 2018-03-09, 11:51 PM   #6
Clay
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
I get the impression in the US TRU isn't shit/overpriced/carrying stock with extensively battered packaging too, whereas I'm surprised the UK branch has lasted this long.
They aren't dramatically different from their competition most of the time, no. Transformer deluxes may be $16.50 at walmart now, whereas they're $16.99 at TRU, or within that ballpark.

Also, I hadn't even thought about it until Cyberstrike said it, but TRU do carry oddball and large items that places like* walmart and target don't. Not sure what home titan class or masterpiece transformers will have with the only dedicated toy store chain potentially going away.

*I am aware that in larger markets, these chains will carry the bigger stuff, but in largely rural areas like mine, TRU is the only store that will.
 
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Old 2018-03-11, 03:46 AM   #7
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This does suck. Admittedly, the only thing I hit the not-so-local TRU for is Transformers, the one near me just doesn't have a lot for Transformers. Lots of everything else, but not a lot of Transformers.

That being said, if everything goes on sale and I can get to it before anybody else does, I might get Fort Max.......
 
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Old 2018-03-15, 06:38 PM   #8
Cyberstrike nTo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clay View Post
They aren't dramatically different from their competition most of the time, no. Transformer deluxes may be $16.50 at walmart now, whereas they're $16.99 at TRU, or within that ballpark.

Also, I hadn't even thought about it until Cyberstrike said it, but TRU do carry oddball and large items that places like* walmart and target don't. Not sure what home titan class or masterpiece transformers will have with the only dedicated toy store chain potentially going away.

*I am aware that in larger markets, these chains will carry the bigger stuff, but in largely rural areas like mine, TRU is the only store that will.

I live in Indianapolis and I have NEVER seen any of the Titan class Transformer toys at any of the various Wal-Mart super stores I regular frequent. I did find Combiner Wars Devastator and Titans Return Fortress Maximus at TRU (and I bought Fort Max at TRU) though.

Doesn't mean they didn't have them but at 2 or 3 I regularly go to I've never seen them hell one store had 1 PotP Optimus Prime and 2 of Rodimus Unicronus figures and when I went back to the store a few days later they didn't have any of the PotP leader class toys.
 
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Old 2018-03-16, 09:38 AM   #9
Clay
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https://www.northjersey.com/story/mo...res/428841002/
 
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Old 2018-03-16, 03:05 PM   #10
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If there's any good news in there, it's this:

Quote:
Toys R Us is also seeking court approval to sell its Canadian division. The company is hoping to put together a plan to sell the Canadian stores to a buyer who will also purchase up to 200 of the top performing U.S. stores.
Since the stores themselves seem to be performing quite well when divorced from the debt that was imposed in the last buyout, if this were to happen I think the new owners would be well-positioned to have a very successful business. They won't get quite the same volume discounts as they do now with 800ish US stores, but I think there's a good chance that the brand could stay alive long-term if this went through. And maybe even start to become a good retailer again, once free of the debt that has kept them from modernizing their operations.

[EDIT]Of course, that presupposed that whoever buys them this time does it properly, instead of loading the new company with yet more unpayable debt.
 
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Old 2018-03-21, 05:44 PM   #11
ganon578
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Just read that the US division will start liquidating on Thursday of this week (tomorrow, 3/22) and all the stores should be shutting down by May 14th.

Not that I shopped there much over the past few years, but they always had decent sales on Disney Infinity figures when I was collecting the Star Wars 3.0 stuff. Transformers were always way too expensive compared to Target & Walmart, so unless it was something special I wasn't in the mood to pay $3-4 extra for a Deluxe. Even the Star Wars Black Series stuff seemed to clog shelves and never move, and they were never on sale to actually move them.

I do have fond memories of the place though...

I remember as a kid walking into the place in wonder, having to walk through a short rainbow colored hallway in the entrance before turning the corner and seeing toys galore. It was always a special trip when we went, because we didn't go often, maybe 2-3 times a year. I still remember seeing all the gaming stuff with just box art/backings and having to take little paper slips to the front when you purchased so some guy behind a metal fenced area could remove it from storage. It seemed to special to have to do that!

Later on when I lived in Toledo, OH and got back into collecting, TRU was my place of choice. Toledo had 3 TRU stores within 15-ish minutes drive from my apartment in different directions. Sometimes I would hit all 3 in a trip just to poke around. It was fun just to hunt and see all the stuff they had. It just didn't hold up 5-10 years later.

It's sad, but I will probably stop by this week or next, just to see what prices they have on anything. Might not end up with much though, as I've already gotten most of the new stuff from other stores at better prices.
 
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Old 2018-03-22, 01:33 AM   #12
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May 14 is less than two months away. If they were as efficient at running their business as they are at shutting down their business, maybe they'd still be in business.

K. B. Toys may try to come back by buying all the toys that were produced to go to TRU this year, but will now be surplus. (CNN) I suppose it's that, or TJ Maxx and Marshall's get way more toys than usual.

Barnes & Noble have a decent selection of toys, including some high end LEGO architect sets, and niche stuff like Gundam kits. They might sell MPs, but Titans would probably take up too much space.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
At least you Americans will still have multiple outlets you can buy from if TRU goes under. If TRU Canada closes we're down to Walmart as the only major retailer that still has a legit toy department. Hell, it's practically the only real "department store" left too, since Target died a few years ago, Sears just finished shutting down and Superstore has retreated from being a real department store to become 80% groceries, and The Bay's footprint has drastically shrunk. Giant Tiger is a joke and London Drugs is more of a Walgreens sort of thing at best.
In my area, Walgreen's is actually the 2nd best source of TFs, after Wal-Mart. There's nothing else less than 45 minutes away.
 
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Old 2018-03-30, 12:40 AM   #13
Clay
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TRU Canada is moving toward the auction block too.
 
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Old 2018-03-30, 02:23 PM   #14
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That's a bummer.

I went into a TRU this past Friday when they started liquidation, and I wasn't impressed. Took the kids with me, figuring we'd get some neat 50% off deal, and that... didn't even come close to happening. I realize they're trying to recoup as much money as possible before shuttering, but their strategy to clear inventory isn't good. The sign inside said 'Up to 30% off!' which means the 30% items are the junk they couldn't sell anyways. Action figures? 10% off. Most major toys? 10% off. Lego? 5% off. 5%? Come on TRU! That barely covers taxes!

They're supposed to be closed up mid-April. Unless they make more aggressive cuts over the next two weeks, they'll have tons of stock left over. As it is, the shelves were still very full, and I didn't see many people loading carts up or anything. I suppose their biggest shoppers are probably people dumping gift cards before they become useless.
 
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Old 2018-03-30, 07:13 PM   #15
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They're supposed to be closed up mid-April. Unless they make more aggressive cuts over the next two weeks, they'll have tons of stock left over.
Probably got something wrong here. The only stores closing mid-April are the ones that were announced to be closing and went into liquidation back in February.
All the other stores that started their liquidation in the last week or two are likely to be open until mid-May, if not later. Depends on the particular store and how their process goes.
 
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Old 2018-03-30, 09:26 PM   #16
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Probably got something wrong here. The only stores closing mid-April are the ones that were announced to be closing and went into liquidation back in February.
All the other stores that started their liquidation in the last week or two are likely to be open until mid-May, if not later. Depends on the particular store and how their process goes.
Well that makes more sense. I was under the impression that all of them were closing, according to an article I read. The later timeframe seems much more realistic.
 
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Old 2018-04-01, 10:53 AM   #17
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The reductions not being as massive straight away doesn't surprise me. When I worked retail and Office World retreated from the UK and Staples bought the UK OW operation, we phased the reductions in stock, only going for silly reductions on the very last day the store needed to be emptied ahead of its refurbishment / restocking as a Staples store.

Lego getting the lowest reduction in your stores isn't surprising - it's a toyline that is rarely discounted and any offers on it tend to be polybag bonus items or gift card/ points incentives than any actual reduction in price. The sales I've tended to see on Lego are where lines are being retired. Amazon's constant deals, I'll put down to their size and ubiquity - easy to take a dent on the RRP if it gets people shopping through you.

Watching my local TRU go through it's close down, it's been interesting to see what has been slowest to sell through. After Christmas, there was no restocking of the store and then the closure was announced. The remaining Lego sets they had (mainly CiTY, Creator and a handful of licensed things) went within a week - with no discount (ditto Sylvanian Families, which I found surprising - that stuff is never cheap), then the started introducing the phased discounting 25%, 30%, then up to 50% and finally up to 75%. On my last visit at the end of February, they had Star Wars and WWE figures, the larger Transformers Movie figures (Voyagers and Leaders) which just weren't shifting, plus some struggling smaller lines (Ghostbusters, Minions) and a lot of Monster High / Barbie remaining.
 
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Old 2018-04-02, 02:03 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
The reductions not being as massive straight away doesn't surprise me. When I worked retail and Office World retreated from the UK and Staples bought the UK OW operation, we phased the reductions in stock, only going for silly reductions on the very last day the store needed to be emptied ahead of its refurbishment / restocking as a Staples store.
I think the local media embellished it more than anything here. We had quite a few shoppers surprised by the lack of discounts upon arrival. I had even gone there the day previous (Thursday) when the liquidation was supposed to start - and didn't happen due to court documents or something - postponing it until Friday. The news around here made it seem like they were shuttering quickly, leaving most people scratching their heads when they arrived.

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Lego getting the lowest reduction in your stores isn't surprising - it's a toyline that is rarely discounted and any offers on it tend to be polybag bonus items or gift card/ points incentives than any actual reduction in price. The sales I've tended to see on Lego are where lines are being retired. Amazon's constant deals, I'll put down to their size and ubiquity - easy to take a dent on the RRP if it gets people shopping through you.
I wasn't really surprised by that one (at least) either - just hoping for a wee bit more. I think the Star Wars: Rogue One figures not being cut heavily was more surprising (Walmart can't even get rid of the 20+ Jyn Erso's and Cassian Andor's at $5 each!). As it is, my wife was headed out of town for the weekend, and I figured the kids and I would stop on our way back from the airport as a fun little trip to kick off the weekend. Had I known Lego was only going to start at 5% off, I wouldn't have promised the kids I'd buy them a set before we went inside!
 
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Old 2018-04-02, 03:03 PM   #19
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All I've been hearing about the liquidation sales in the US is that people are flocking in to buy things at 5% to 10% off that didn't sell when they were advertised at 25%+ off in recent flyers. Same sort of thing happened when Sears went out of business here: people who would never even think about shopping there because they were "too expensive" even during sales absolutely swarmed the place once the going-out-of-business sales started, even though the starting prices weren't even all that different from their regular prices (and in some cases were actually higher!)

I'm sure some sociologist somewhere had a field day writing a paper about that sort of behaviour.

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Originally Posted by Clay View Post
Not really a surprise, considering all that's been going on. Hopefully whoever buys it wants a going concern, and not just to strip it for its assets and real estate.

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Lego getting the lowest reduction in your stores isn't surprising - it's a toyline that is rarely discounted and any offers on it tend to be polybag bonus items or gift card/ points incentives than any actual reduction in price. The sales I've tended to see on Lego are where lines are being retired. Amazon's constant deals, I'll put down to their size and ubiquity - easy to take a dent on the RRP if it gets people shopping through you.
TRU Canada actually has sales on Lego pretty often. It's not a section I frequent, but more often than not when I've popped in to buy a gift for my niece or nephew I've been able to find something that they'd like that's between 10% to 25% off of retail. I get the impression that the Canadian branch is more aggressive about having frequent sales, though. Transformers and Marvel stuff are both marked down quite often, which I'd probably appreciate more if they did a better job of actually keeping desirable stuff in stock.
 
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Old 2018-04-02, 09:27 PM   #20
Denyer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
Lego getting the lowest reduction in your stores isn't surprising - it's a toyline that is rarely discounted and any offers on it tend to be polybag bonus items or gift card/ points incentives than any actual reduction in price. The sales I've tended to see on Lego are where lines are being retired. Amazon's constant deals, I'll put down to their size and ubiquity - easy to take a dent on the RRP if it gets people shopping through you.
Ditto supermarkets, the LEGO is usually included in whatever seasonal clear outs they have.
 
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