UPDATE: FEBRUARY 11, 2019 — IT’’S ALIVE
It appears that a new entity called Tru Kids, Inc. has acquired the intellectual property and plans to resurrect the Toys R Us, Babies R Us, and Geoffrey in some form in the coming months. The CEO of Tru Kids Brands is Richard Barry who was with Tors R Us for 33 years and last served as the Global Chief Merchandising Officer.
UPDATE: 10/02/2018 CREDITORS PLAN TO GRAB BRANDS
According to court documents, it appears that the major creditors (mostly hedge funds) who forced Toys “R” Us into bankruptcy wants to “to adjourn or cancel the Intellectual Property Auction” and “contemplates a new, operating Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us branding company that maintains existing global license agreements and can invest in and create new, domestic, retail operating businesses under the Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us names, as well as expand its international presence and further develop its private brands business.”
[Case 17-34665-KLP Doc 5058 Filed 10/01/18]
According to published reports the company has informed its employees that retailer may sell or close all its U.S. stores with a mass layoff of up to 33,000 employees in the coming months. The company has filed "liquidation" papers with the proper authorities prior to its bankruptcy hearing.
Original Post ...
Although entering bankruptcy prior to the holiday season is not optimal, neither is a call on $400 million in maturing debt. Of course, bankruptcy is merely a tool to assist the company in renegotiating and restructuring debt as well as abandoning leases for unwanted brick-and-mortar stores. This debt apparently arises from the results of an older $6.6 billion buyout in 2005 when private equity investors like KKR, Bain Capital, Vornado Realty Trust, and others planned to reorganize the company for a future public offering. Unfortunately, 2008 happened with its mortgage meltdown and subsequent recession. Although the company has experienced ongoing net revenue losses, they still have operational liquidity and a large line of credit.
Competitively, consumers might regard Amazon, Walmart, and Target as the chain’s major competitors where onecan get a better deal for big-ticket toys that may require returns and/or refunds. Additionally, consumer play preferences have drastically been altered toward online games that can be downloaded and played on the ubiquitous smartphone -- all without a visit to any toy store.
I would not be surprised to see mass layoffs and store closings in the future as the brick-and-mortar empire downsizes and gives way to the digital domain. Whether or not they can compete effectively with Amazon, Walmart, and Costco remains to be seen.