In today’s weekly blog at Toyworld, they focus on the demise of Toys ‘R’ Us, both in the UK and US, and the reasons for its collapse — largely believed due to a mis-management by its owners. Here’s an excerpt but it’s worth a full read at the link below….
Much has been written and said in the media about the demise of Toys R Us. Much of it has been complete and utter drivel. TRU found itself in a unique position, its problems based on historic, unsustainable levels of leveraged debt. It turned over roughly $11b last year, as it did the year before and the year before that. It went down because of long-term economic mis-management by its owners – that is the plain and simple truth.
For quite a while now there have been dark mutterings about some of the things that have been going on behind closed doors, especially within the US TRU operation. Gradually, more information is making it into the public domain, and some of it is pretty incendiary. If you’re not suffering from Toys R Us fatigue and want to read an article that pulls back the curtain on the murky side of the Toys R Us situation, this piece by James Zahn – The Rock Father – is a great place to start.
James has written other articles about the complete unsuitability of Dave Brandon for the CEO’s role, and he also has a very interesting theory about President Trump’s silence on the whole Toys R Us situation. If you didn’t know just how much of a hotbed of intrigue the toy industry can be, these pieces are essential reading.
US toy suppliers are also starting to break their code of silence, as it looks increasingly unlikely that they will be paid for the goods they have shipped. The CEO of Basic Fun even went so far as to use the ‘f’ word – fraud, that is (although I’m sure a lot of other people are using other ‘f’ words when they talk about TRU).
The whole saga has inevitably had a major impact on the prevailing mood of the global toy community, and while I would not want to underplay the significance of what has happened or make light of the challenges which lie ahead, I also think that it’s important to retain a sense of perspective. While there is an air of uncertainty, some things we do know; as US Toy Association president Stephen Pasierb says: “The birth rate will be unaffected, kids will celebrate birthdays, Christmas is still on the calendar.” History tells us that the people and companies whose main response so far has been to hide under a desk – metaphorically or literally – are not those who are likely to come out of this in the best shape.