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Will KB Toys Live On After Liquidation?

The stores may be shuttered, the company liquidated, but retail brands are increasingly living on long after the bankruptcy proceedings have ended.

KB Toys logo
KB Toys logo

The latest example is the KB Toys brand, which was acquired by Toys 'R Us. KB Toys filed for bankruptcy in December and sold its logos and online addresses last month to CE Stores, a unit of Toys R Us last month.

No word yet from Toys 'R Us regarding its plans to use the KB Toys brand as part of its business. But the expansion of its brands comes at a time when the retailer is facing increasing competition from discount retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores, which also sells toys.

The move gives Toys 'R Us a wide variety of toy brands, including FAO Schwarz and eToys.com.

When Toys 'R Us bought FAO Schwarz in May, it said that it was planning to use that high-end brand as laboratory of all sorts for innovative toys.

KB Toys has long been known for less pricey items, raising the possibility that the retailer could use the brand to clear out merchandise or market less expensive toys. Alternately, the brand may have been purchased defensively in order to keep it out of the hands of a competitor.

Liquidation has failed to become death blow for more and more retail brands. The Sharper Image name, for example, has been placed on bathmats, neck pillows and electronic accessories, available for sale at one-time competitors such as Macy's, J.C. Penney and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Linens 'n Things is selling products once again through a Web site, lnt.com.

Hilco Consumer Capital and Gordon Brothers own the Sharper Image, the Linens 'n Things and Bombay furniture brands.

Systemax, of Port Washington, N.Y., has also resurrected the CompUSA brand and Circuit Citybrands. Both brands are back in business, this time selling products on the Web.

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Retail