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Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy and faces challenges in the modern marketplace

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By Alexandra Sprouls ’19

Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy in early September, facing pressure from the success of online businesses and the increasing usage of electronic games by children.

“I was actually so surprised when I learned about Toys ‘R’ Us declaring bankruptcy because I used to always look forward to going there when I was a kid,” Sanna ten Cate ’18 said.

The company is keeping 1,600 Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us stores open worldwide and adopting new business tactics in hope for success in the future.

Toys ‘R’ Us CEO, Dave Brandon, said in a press release that he is still confident that the brand will “live on for many generations” and is simply facing some struggles due to the retail landscape being “increasingly challenging and rapidly changing.”

The presence of online retailers is increasing, with shoppers making 51% of their purchases online. This statistic has been increasing since 2014, according to fortune.com.

“Shopping online is so much easier because I can do it at any time and from wherever I am. I also have access to all of the options stores have available so I know I’m not missing anything I may love,” Reese Sutter ’20 said.

An abundance of retail stores with smaller online presences such as Gymboree, Payless Shoe Source and Rue21 have also been declaring bankruptcy.

With less retail stores, kids are more often found spending time playing electronic games, such as ones found on websites or on apps, rather than physical ones.

“I haven’t played an actual board game in a long time but when I’m bored I often play games on my phone,” Abigail Ross ’19 said

With over two million applications on the app store, many of which are free, consumers find it easier to buy one electronic device that has access to an abundance of games rather than buying games individually in stores.

“It [Toys ‘R’ Us filing for bankruptcy] makes me wonder if kids have even played board games before like Monopoly and Clue which pretty much made up my childhood,” Sutter said.

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Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy and faces challenges in the modern marketplace