As a millennial growing up in the 90s, I loved being a Toys R Us kid. But I’m torn about how I feel about the news that they will be closing all 800 of their stores.
Toys R Us replaced toy stores like Kiddie City, that failed to innovate in the 90s:
It’s not dissimilar to how Borders pushed out smaller bookstores before finding themselves pushed out by Amazon.
Amazon itself didn’t kill Toys R Us alone. It was a confluence of factors that included Toys R Us being saddled with $5.3 Billion in debt when they were taken over by private equity in 2005, by competition from even larger multi-purpose stores like Target and Walmart, and yes, competition from Amazon and other e-commerce sites. While Amazon had its most successful Q4 ever, Toys R Us reported lackluster sales figures that were the final nail in the coffin.
Obviously this is devastating news for the 64K employees of Toys R Us. Though once Amazon starts rolling out its vision of the store of the future, checkout clerks will likely go the way of the milkman, switchboard operator, film processor, and the flight engineer. Jobs like checkout clerks and truck or taxi drivers won’t survive this century.
On the one hand, there’s some regret that my kids may never have the experience I had running down the aisles of a store dedicated just to toys.
But as a consumer, am I going to inconvenience myself to go out to a retail store to pay more than I would pay to Amazon to ship items to my house?
My grandparents do just that, but millennials aren’t. They may give lip service to the demise of stores they grew up with, but words won’t save retail. Companies that don’t have a strong e-commerce strategy to compete with sites like Amazon will continue to go the way of the Dodo. But until retailers figure that out, my investments in Amazon keep looking better by the day…
Be sure to use up your gift cards and stay tuned for information on sales and closeouts, which will likely be happening soon at a store near you.
Which retail chain do you think will be the next to close the doors?