Toys "R" Us
Toys "Я" Us Type Privately held company Industry Retail Founded Rockville, Maryland Headquarters Wayne, New Jersey, U.S. Area served Worldwide Key people Gerald L. Storch, Chairman and CEO Products Children's toys Revenue $13.646 billion USD (2007) Owner(s) Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
Bain Capital Partners LLC
Vornado Realty Trust
Employees 70,000 (123,000 during holidays) Website Toysrus.com
Toys "R" Us (founded in 1948) is a toy and juvenile-products retailer headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey, United States. The company operates approximately 875 Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores in the United States, more than 600 international stores and over 140 licensed stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions. It controls the FAO Schwarz brand and operates its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Toys "R" Us also operates a portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com, Babiesrus.com, eToys.com and FAO.com.
- 1 History
- 2 Affiliated chains
- 3 Logos
- 4 Geoffrey the Giraffe
- 5 Babies“R”Us
- 6 International locations
- 7 Product safety
- 8 Charitable Giving
- 9 Recent Initiatives
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Charles Lazarus initially started Children's Supermart (which would evolve into Toys "R" Us) in Washington, DC during the post-war baby boom era in 1948 as a baby-furniture retailer. Its first location was at 2461 18th St, NW, where the nightclub Madam's Organ Blues Bar is located. Lazarus began receiving requests from customers for baby toys. After adding baby toys, he got requests for toys for older children. The focus of the store changed in 1957, and Toys "R" Us was born in Rockville, Maryland. Toys "R" Us was acquired in 1966 by Interstate Department Stores, owner of the White Front, Topps and Children's Bargain Town USA, a sister toy-store chain to Toys "R" Us in the American Midwest that would later be re-branded as part of the Toys "R" Us chain. The original Toys "R" Us store design in the 1970s and 1980s consisted of vertical rainbow stripes and a brown roof with a front entrance and side exit. Some brown-roof locations still exist, although some have been painted different colors or renovated.
To improve the company, the board of directors installed John Eyler (formerly of FAO Schwarz). Eyler launched an unsuccessful, expensive plan to remodel and re-launch the chain. Blaming market pressures (primarily competition from Wal-Mart and Target), Toys "R" Us considered splitting its toy and baby businesses. On July 21, 2005 a consortium of Bain Capital Partners LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and Vornado Realty Trust invested $1.3 billion to complete a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout of the company. Public stock closed for the last time at $26.74—pennies from the 68-week high, but far short of its all-time high of almost $45 in fourth-quarter 1993 and its five-year high of $31 in 2Q 2001. Toys "R" Us is now a privately owned entity. However, the company still files with the Securities and Exchange Commission (as required by its debt agreements). On May 28, 2010 Toys "R" Us filed with the SEC to raise up to $800 million in an initial public offering.
Toys "R" Us Express
For the 2009 holiday-shopping season, Toys "R" Us tried a smaller-store concept to attract customers and 90 "Holiday Express" stores across the United States and Canada were opened. The Holiday Express stores are smaller than regular Toys "R" Us locations, often located in malls, and offer a more limited selection of merchandise than would be available at a stand-alone Toys "R" Us store. Most (if not all) of these 90 stores were opened in shopping-center and mall spaces that had been vacated by store chains closing their doors during the recession (including KB Toys, several of which were taken over by Toys "R" Us). Toys "R" Us' original plan was to keep the Holiday Express stores open until early January 2010 and close them shortly thereafter, but the success of many prompted the company to reconsider and several were kept open. These stores are known as "Toys "R" Us Express". Beginning in June 2010, Toys "R" Us opened a total of 600 Express locations nationwide. In addition to those 600 stores, four Express locations were converted to Toys "R" Us outlet stores.
Toys "R" Us also owns the following chains/businesses:
- KB Toys - The KB Toys brand and related copyrights were sold to Toys "R" Us on September 4, 2009 for $2.1 million. Future plans are unknown.
- FAO Schwarz - Upscale toy retailer, headquartered in New York City. The store and its Las Vegas satellite were purchased by the company on May 28, 2009.
- Kids "R" Us - Not operating independently since 2003, Kids "R" Us sold children's clothing. Kids "R" Us stores are co-branded with some Toys "R" Us stores, located inside most Toys "R" Us locations. Kids "R" Us is also the brand-name label of children's clothing found at the Geoffrey stores.
- Babies "R" Us - Superstores specializing in clothing, furniture, toys and other accessories for babies
- Scoops "R" Us - An ice-cream restaurant in the flagship Times Square store
- Bikes "R" Us - Bicycle store inside Toys "R" Us (UK only)
- Teen Tronics Family Entertainment Centre – Multimedia store inside Toys "R" Us (UK only)
- Geoffrey's Toys "R" Us/Geoffrey - Retailtainment stores named for Toys "R" Us' mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, offering toys, juvenile merchandise, and children's apparel in one location. Includes a "Studio G" activity center. Mostly found in the American Midwest, but also in Texas, Mississippi and North Carolina. The first store under the "Geoffrey" banner opened in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, but closed because of poor sales. Two other Geoffrey's Toys "R" Us stores in Wisconsin still exist. Other locations include Louisville, Kentucky, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. Each location had a playground at the front of the store. These stores are in the process of reverting to Toys "R" Us stores, although the name remains.
- Toys "R" Us Toy Box (introduced in 2003) - This version of Toys "R" Us is found in Albertsons, Giant and Jewel-Osco supermarkets, and stores in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore.
- Toys "R" Us KidsWorld - A toy superstore format introduced in 1996. Stores were built in Elizabeth, New Jersey, next to IKEA (which was remodeled into a Toys "R" US/Babies "R" Us Superstore) and Fairfax, Virginia (which was remodeled in 2006 to a standard Toys "R" Us).
- Toys "R" Us/Kids "R" Us - co-branded stores in markets not served by the Geoffrey stores
- Toys "R" Us Express - mini-store version of Toys "R" Us, found inside Asian stores (including Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan (Republic of China) and Wollongong, Australia) Also found in some malls in United States (Ashland Town Center, Kentucky; Great Lakes Crossing and Westland Mall, Michigan; Newburgh Mall, New York; Wenatchee Valley Mall, Washington) or a shopping plaza such as Granada Hills, California.
- Imaginarium - Initially, Imaginarium was an independent chain of toy stores with a focus on learning toys, with most of its stores located in malls. Toys "R" Us bought the chain in 1999. Its mascots were Cosmo (a purple puppy) and Professor Fun. When most of the Toys "R" Us stores were remodeled, their redesigned layouts included an Imaginarium department. Imaginarium still exists as an independent store in Portugal.
- Studio Alice - Found inside Toys "R" Us in Japan
- eToys.com - e-commerce site acquired February 12, 2009 from bankrupt The Parent Company
- BabyUniverse.com - another e-commerce site acquired February 12, 2009 from bankrupt The Parent Company
- ePregnancy.com - parenting-resource website acquired February 12, 2009 from bankrupt The Parent Company
The yellow reverse "R" in quotation marks, similar to the Cyrillic letter Я, (ISO 9: Я), imitates a small child's backward writing of "R" (which is short for "are"). The "R" is the most distinctive part of the retailer's logo. The current Toys "R" Us logo was introduced in 1969; a blue star was added to the logo in 1999 during the Toys "R" Us "Concept 2000" era. This logo was seen during the first decade of the 21st century on the Nickelodeon game show Double Dare 2000 and on new Concept 2000 Toys "R" Us stores or older stores that were converted to Concept 2000 stores. The "R Us" name was derived as a pun on the founder's last name (Lazarus), and has been imitated by other businesses. The logo was again changed in 2007 to alternating-sized characters and a star in the middle of the reverse R. The letter "R" was changed from yellow to blue (although the star in logo #2 is sometimes yellow with the R in blue). Since May 2008, the UK Toys "R" Us stores use the new logo. Refurbished stores display the revised logo, as does the UK website and all media publications (however, some UK stores such as Teesside Park, Metro Retail Park and Natick carry logo #2 or logo #1).
Geoffrey the Giraffe
Formerly known as Dr. G. Raffe, the company’s mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe made his debut during the 1950s in print advertisements for Children’s Bargain Town. He was known for saying “Toys are us,” a quote that paved the way for the company. During the 1960s, when Children’s Bargain Town became Toys “R” Us, Dr. G. Raffe was renamed Geoffrey and became the official Toys“R”Us “spokesanimal”. As the company evolved, so did Geoffrey.
The first Babies“R”Us location opened in 1996 in Westbury, New York. Today, Babies“R”Us operates as a specialty baby products retailer and has grown to approximately 260 locations across the country since its first store opened. The stores offer new and expectant parents a broad assortment of products for newborns and infants, including cribs and furniture, car seats, strollers, formula, diapers, bedding, clothing and toys. Its popular Babies“R”Us Registry has been used by more than 11 million moms to date.
In addition to its expansion in the United States, Toys“R”Us launched a worldwide presence in 1984 when the company opened its first international wholly owned store in Canada and licensed operation in Singapore. Toys“R”Us, International currently operates more than 600 international stores and over 140 licensed stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions outside the United States, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, among others. The company continues to grow internationally, and made its most recent entry into a new market in 2011 when it opened its first licensed location in Brunei.
In 2009, Toys“R”Us purchased remaining shares of Toys“R”Us, Japan from McDonald's Holdings Co., increasing its ownership from approximately 62% to slightly over 90%.
Toys “R” Us has taken a leadership position on toy and baby-product safety, beginning in 2007 when millions of toys from China were recalled for high lead levels. The company has reportedly implemented high safety standards, and in 2007 vowed to take an aggressive approach towards holding vendors accountable for meeting those standards. Chairman and CEO Gerald Storch, testifying before a Senate appropriations subcommittee on toy safety in September 2007, said he supported new legislation strengthening toy-safety standards and outlined new initiatives the retailer had set forth to ensure that its customers receive timely information on recalls (including a new website).
In 2008, the company introduced stricter product safety standards exceeding federal requirements. Among the new standards was a requirement for materials inside toys to meet a standard of 250 parts per million of lead for all products manufactured exclusively for the retailer (compared with the federal standard of 600 ppm. Toys “R” Us also announced the requirement that baby products be produced without the addition of phthalates, which have raised concerns about infant safety. The company has since adjusted its requirements to meet new federal standards enacted with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).
In addition to toy safety, the company also took steps to stop selling drop-side cribs before it became a federal requirement. In fall 2010, after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Food and U.S. Drug Administration (FDA) issued a joint warning advising parents to stop using sleep positioners, Toys “R” Us removed sleep positioners from its in-store and online inventory throughout North America.
The Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys“R”Us, Inc. founded in 1992, supports various children’s organizations, including those providing disaster relief to children and families who are victims of large-scale crises. The Fund also provides grants to leading organizations that support children with special needs. In addition to financial and product donations, company stores host multiple in-store fundraising campaigns annually.
Since 2004, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has raised over $23.6 million and collected 3 million toys during the holiday season to support the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Cash and toy donations are collected in all Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores nationwide, and monetary donations are also accepted online.
During times of disaster, Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund together have provided product and monetary donations specifically to aid in Save the Children’s efforts to help protect children, ensure their safety in shelters and at community recovery sites and support their emotional recovery during times of disaster. Financial support totaling more than $3.5 million has been donated. In 2010, Toys“R”Us, Inc. received the Corporate Recognition for Humanitarian Assistance honor for its disaster response work with Save the Children from InterAction, a coalition of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations focused on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
Toys“R”Us, Inc. also works with Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) to help provide products in the wake of natural or other crises.
Toys“R”Us, Inc. has a long history of supporting the special needs community. Each year since 1994, the company has published the Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, a resource featuring specially selected toys that aid in the development of children with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities. In 2011, Eva Longoria volunteered to be featured on the cover. She joins a long roster of recognizable personalities in the country who have served as the “face” of the Guide, including Holly Robinson Peete, Meredith Vieira, Maria Shriver, John Ritter, Whoopi Goldberg and Marlee Matlin. In addition, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has partnered with Autism Speaks since 2007, and since then, Autism Speaks has received more than $12 million through money raised during the Toys“R”Us, Inc. in-store and online fundraising campaigns and through donations from the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and Toys“R”Us, Inc. Also, Toys“R”Us, Inc. employees nationwide participate in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks program.
Rooftop Solar Project
On April 11, 2011, Toys "R" Us announced that it plans to cover 70 percent of the roof of its distribution center (located in Flanders, New Jersey) with a solar installation. The company claims this 5.38-megawatt solar project will be the largest rooftop solar installation in North America.
Integrated Store Strategy
On August 23, 2011, Toys“R”Us Inc. announced it would open 21 new stores before year’s end, as part of an overall strategy the company has been pursuing since 2006 to house Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us in the same building. The company says the stores provide more shopper convenience. The privately held toy company said this will include 11 "R" Superstores - which have full-size Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores in one location - and 10 stores that will have smaller Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores in the same location. The stores will be in 13 states including Alabama, California, Texas and New Jersey. It is also remodeling 23 existing stores so that the two stores will be in the same location.
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- ^ Toys R Us will keep selected Holiday Express stores open northjersey.com 30 December 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
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- ^ Candace Lombardi, CNET. "Toys 'R' Us building massive rooftop solar project." May 11, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
- Official website
- Toys "R" Us - Corporate website
- Babies "R" us website
- eToys website
- FAO Schwartz website
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