Saturday, October 15

Toys R Us beats most big Toy Store Chains

  K·B Toys
 K·B Toys (previously known as Kay Bee Toys) was a chain of mall-based retail toy stores in the United States. I remember liking to go into this store in malls, they sold things more expensive than Toys R Us but had sales, that were cheaper than them. It was founded in 1922 by the Kaufman brothers. K·B operated 605 stores in 44 U.S. states, Puerto Rico as well as Guam. Following the company's second bankruptcy in five years, the chain was liquidated beginning in December 2008. Toys R Us acquired the remains of K·B Toys in 2009, consisting mainly of its website, trademarks, and intellectual property rights.

FAO Schwarz
FAO Schwarz was founded in 1862 under the name Toy Bazaar by German immigrant Frederick August Otto Schwarz, in Baltimore, where he and his brothers retailed toys from a fancy-goods store. Additional locations of Toy Bazaar followed in Philadelphia and Boston. Shortly after its business peak in 2000, the company faced financial failure. Vendex put the 42-store chain up for sale. In 2001, The Right Start Company bought 23 of the 42 stores. The other 19 unsold stores were immediately closed. In 2002 the Right Start Inc. changed its corporate name to FAO Inc. operating stores under The Right Start, Zany Brainy and FAO Schwarz names. In 2003, FAO Inc. filed for bankruptcy, emerging from bankruptcy in April 2003. The company filed for bankruptcy a 2nd time in 2003. In 2009 Toys "R" Us acquired FAO Schwarz for an undisclosed price. As a result of the acquisition, Macy's closed the FAO Schwarz shops in its stores. Toys "R" Us planned to continue operating FAO Schwarz's retail store in New York in the GM Building.

 Lionel Kiddie City
Lionel Kiddie City was an American Toy store under the ownership of Lionel Corp.. By the early 1980s, Lionel operated some 150 stores, under the names Toy City, Lionel Kiddie City, Lionel Playworld, Lionel Toy Warehouse, and Lionel Toy Town. For a time it was the second-largest toy store chain in the United States. Lionel ran into financial trouble during the early 1980s recession and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 1982. The Lionel trademarks were purchased by Richard Kughn, a Detroit real estate magnate who had bought the Lionel product line from General Mills in 1986.The mascot was a Kangaroo, compared to Geoffry the giraffe mascot of TRU.

I live in Miami and remember it mostly as Playworld and I remember it being as big as Toys R Us.

 Toys R Us had a store chain that no longer operating independently as of 2003, Kids "R" Us sold children's clothing. Kids "R" Us stores now 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 kids' clothing found at the Geoffrey Stores. As we all know Babies R Us still exist and some co-exist with Toys R Us. I remember going to Kids R Us and it wasn't that great.

Most, if not all, of these 90 stores were opened in vacant shopping center and mall spaces that had been vacated by various store chains closing their doors during the recession (including KB Toys locations, 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 of them prompted the company to reconsider and several were kept open. These stores are now branded "Toys "R" Us Express".  Beginning in June 2010, Toys "R" Us began opening more Express locations nationwide, with 600 stores eventually opening. In addition to those 600 stores, four Express locations were converted to Toys "R" Us Outlet stores.