The news has sparked an outpouring of emotion, some devastation, that the childhood-favorite toy chain will soon cease to exist. The winding down of its business also threatens more than 30,000 jobs across the U.S. over the next few months.
Many shoppers remember trips to Toys R Us for picking up gifts around the holidays. Others would take their kids there after winning a soccer game, making high marks at school, or just for a special treat on the weekends. Its wide selection of bikes, ride-ons, and shelves of Barbie dolls and video games had always been hard to find elsewhere, all in one place.
Then there's Babies R Us, where some became frequent shoppers when their children were young and they needed to stock up on disposable diapers and wipes. The chain also offers car seats, strollers and cribs — again, an extensive and curated selection that's difficult to find at big-box retailers Walmart and Target, which also have to make room for food, apparel and home decor.
Some have blamed Amazon for Toys R Us' demise, saying the e-commerce giant gobbled up toy and baby sales online and lured shoppers in for the convenience of browsing the internet. But Toys R Us was also saddled with debt, leaving it unable to make transformative investments, following a buyout by private equity partners in 2005.
Older shoppers are expressing their nostalgia by revisiting the retailer's jingle, "I'm a Toys R Us Kid," which became an instant hit among children and parents alike when it was created in the early 1980s.