Crushed by online competition, Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy: 6 things about the chain

Toys 'R' Us is the second-largest toy seller in the United States behind Amazon.
Toys 'R' Us is the second-largest toy seller in the United States behind Amazon.PHOTO: EPA

Toys 'R' Us Inc, the largest US toy store chain and a name most of us would associate with our childhoods, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday (Sept 18).

According to consulting firm Kloster Trading Corp, Toys 'R' Us is the second-largest toy seller in the United States behind Amazon.

The company is saddled with debt from a US$6.6 billion (S$8.9 billion) buyout in 2005.

The Asian operations of Toys 'R' Us, including Toys 'R' Us Singapore, are not affected by the toy store chain's bankruptcy filing in the United States, its joint venture partner said on Tuesday (Sept 19).

Here are 6 things you may not know about the toy store:

1. It wasn't always called Toys 'R' Us

Charles P. Lazarus initially founded baby furniture store Children's Supermart in 1948. However, its focus slowly evolved to children's toys, and thus the store evolved into Toys 'R' Us in 1957.

2. There is a baby wing of the company


Babies 'R' Us at City Square Mall. PHOTO: BABIES "R" US

It is called Babies 'R' Us, a name one would find either very cute or highly unimaginative. It caters to parents of, well, babies, offering affordable products and services.

Its logo was multi-pastel coloured when it first started in 1996, but it has since changed to a fully purple one.

3. The stores in Singapore are not affected


The Star Wars section in Toys ’R’ Us' flagship store at Vivocity. PHOTO: TOYS 'R' US

Yay!

 

Operations outside of the US and Canada, including about 255 licensed stores and joint venture partnerships in Asia, are not part of the Chapter 11 filing, Toys 'R' Us said.

Toys 'R' Us Singapore is owned by Toys 'R' Us (Asia), a joint venture with Fung Retailing, part of Hong Kong's privately-held Fung Group. It has 11 stores in Singapore.

4. Its mascot is a giraffe


In 1969, Dr G. Raffe was renamed Geoffrey the Giraffe, and became the official Toys 'R' Us spokesman. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/TOYS 'R' US

The lovable giraffe started out as Dr G. Raffe, and made its debut in 1957 in print advertisements for Children's Bargain Town, a toy store chain in the American Midwest that was later absorbed into the Toys 'R' Us chain.

In 1966, Toys 'R' Us was acquired by Interstate Department Stores, which owned Children's Bargain Town.

In 1969, Dr G. Raffe was renamed Geoffrey the Giraffe, and became the official Toys 'R' Us spokesman - or rather, its spokesanimal.

5. It started because people were having more babies


Toys 'R' Us started by selling baby furniture before it expanded to older children's toys. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/TOYS 'R' US

Toys 'R' Us found a market during the post-war era, where there was a baby boom following the end of World War II.

It started out providing baby furniture, but moved on to baby toys.

After that, it expanded to older children's toys.

6. Kids worldwide know it


There are 875 Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us stores in the US, Puerto Rico and Guam, and over 765 stores internationally. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/TOYS 'R' US

It has stores all over the world.

There are 875 Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us stores in the US, Puerto Rico and Guam, and over 765 stores internationally, along with over 245 licensed stores in 37 countries and jurisdictions.