The company told employees on Wednesday that it would sell or close all of its more than 700 US stores.
We visited Toys R Us’ holiday pop-up store in New York City’s Times Square last September, shortly after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, to see what the store was like.
At the time, we didn’t realise it would be one of the last stores the chain would ever open.
The temporary Toys R Us in Times Square was in the famous Knickerbocker building.
Walking in, we were immediately struck by how clean the shelves were.
Though it was noon on a Tuesday, there was a good number of people shopping — some had children and others didn’t, and some clearly were tourists.
We spotted a lot of toys that retailers predicted would be top sellers over the holiday season, like this Imaginext Batman robot. A display model let kids and parents check out the toy before they bought it.
The store was spread out over three floors. The main floor had “hot toys” and licensed products; the top floor had Lego sets and educational toys for younger kids; and the bottom floor had remote-controlled cars, bikes, and outdoor toys.
The theme of the pop-up shop was definitely “New York,” with display signage that looked like the subway system.
A whole section on the first floor was dedicated to Disney and Star Wars.
A giant Geoffrey the Giraffe encouraged visitors to take a selfie.
The store was also dotted with Lego figures like Rey and BB-8 from “Star Wars” and minions from “Despicable Me.”
Lego also had a special section.
All of the shelves were fully stocked, without a single gap or misplaced item.
The only out-of-place item was this Thomas the Tank Engine toy that a kid left in the middle of the floor just before I walked through.
We didn’t see a single sale or deal tag, which simplified things in terms of pricing.
It was clear this was an in-and-out type of store, without show-stopping experiences like the Ferris wheel inside the former Times Square Toys R Us, which closed in early 2017.
Kids were, however, encouraged to interact with the “Magic Mirror.”
A “Playlab” also had interactive demonstrations for children.
Downstairs, there were some outdoor toys and bikes for children, with a small track for testing.
The checkout was also the place to pick up orders placed online. There was an area with a register on each floor, clearly in anticipation of the holiday rush.
More on Toys R Us’ demise:
- Why Toys R Us couldn’t be saved
- Toys R Us will close or sell all of its US stores
- Toys R Us is closing all its US stores – and blowout clearance sales could begin within weeks
- Toys R Us gift cards will expire in 30 days
- Toys R Us says a ‘perfect storm’ killed the toy chain – and it blames Amazon, Walmart, and Target
- These companies will be the biggest winners when Toys R Us closes its stores
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