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    Looks like Geoffrey the Giraffe is being put out to pasture. [LINK]

    Toys R Us has informed employees that the company plans to sell or close all of its U.S. stores, according to a person familiar with the plans who spoke anonymously because the official liquidation filing has not been publicly disclosed yet. The person did not say how long the wind-down will take but said the shutdown will not be immediate.

    The chain employs more than 30,000 people in the U.S. and includes Babies R Us stores.

    Toys R Us has struggled with a heavy load of debt inherited from a 2005 buyout, as well as intense competition from Walmart, Amazon and Target — made worse by disappointing holiday sales.

    For whatever it’s worth, the boys and I made our final TRU purchases over the weekend, all at (as the Firesign Theatre would say) unhealable deep-cut discounts:


    Toys R Us wasn’t even a presence in this area until the early 1990s. The Fort Smith store was open just in time for the first Hasbro Star Wars figures (i.e. the ridiculously bemuscled ones) to appear. My primary interest at the time was the Playmates Star Trek line though.

    When we went this weekend, I expected the store to be picked over and nearly empty, since our store was already slated to be closed. But no…it seems that even at a heavy discount, they can’t give the stuff away. They’re going to live and die by their reputation for being overpriced.

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    The Toys-R-Us store near my home has been there since about 1979. Haven’t been in there in over a decade.

    “You can not operate in this room unless you believe that you are Superman, and whatever happens, you’re capable of solving the problem.” – Gene Kranz

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