If “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid” was the theme song to your childhood, then there may be good news on the horizon: The Toys R Us bankruptcy auction has been canceled and plans are in motion to revive the brand.
The same group of hedge funds that originally chose to shutter the popular toy store chain over billions of dollars in debt is now planning to bring back the Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands, according to The Wall Street Journal.
An auction was originally organized in order to sell off Toys R Us-specific intellectual property: brand names and registry lists, as well as its beloved Geoffrey the Giraffe mascot. Many bidders were interested, but those potential bids were found not to “yield a superior alternative to the plan,” according to court filings. This pivot would give the company a chance to relaunch their stores and keep those assets intact.
What Went Wrong?
After more than 60 years in business, the toy store filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2017 and filed for liquidation in March — a sign it planned to close its doors for good. Over 700 Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations welcomed their last customers as June of this year came to a close. The bankruptcy put about 33,000 employees out of work and many of them have fought for severance pay.
“To our loyal customers: We’ve seen an amazing outpouring of love and support in recent days and we truly appreciate it,” the company tweeted following the March announcement. “Our stores are open for business, ready to bring joy to children wherever we can, and to help new and expecting parents navigate raising a family.”
Of course, the bankruptcy news didn’t come as a total surprise. After leveraging a buyout in 2005, Toys R Us had been carrying the weight of billions of dollars in debt and struggled to turn a profit for years.
The retailer also had a difficult time competing with big-box stores like Walmart and Target, which also sell toys and baby items, as well as the rise of online shopping through Amazon.com.
Fans Weigh In
Fans of the chain were quick to share their opinions on social media when the closure was announced, many of them using the hashtag “#iDontWantToGrowUp.”
User @SZharnest tweeted, “I’ll always be a Toys R Us kid. Good bye old friend.” He followed up with the hashtag “
#mykidswontknow” to express his disappointment that his children wouldn’t have a chance to discover the toy store.
— Stuart Zharnest (@SZharnest) June 28, 2018
Similarly, fans took to Twitter after hearing the news about a possible revival to share their hopes for the store. User @PAGNOTT_ tweeted, “I hope this @ToysRUs news is true.
— Michael Pagnotti #JoinDarkOrder (@PAGNOTTI_) October 3, 2018
User @JoSquared719 tweeted that the store made him feel like a kid at heart. “I hope they do bring Toys R Us back,” he wrote. “I miss going to the stores. I enjoyed taking my nieces and nephews there. Im [sic] a kid at heart. There are toys I can still play with. I would rather shop there for video games than other retailers.”
I hope they do bring Toys R Us back. I miss going to the stores. I enjoyed taking my nieces and nephews there. Im a kid at heart. There are toys I can still play with. I would rather shop there for video games than other retailers. @ToysRUs #toysrus #idontwanttogrowup
— Jojo F Tolentino (@LL_Cool_Jojo) October 2, 2018
The potential comeback is still in its early stages. However, The Wall Street Journal cited court papers noting the plan moving forward “contemplates a new, operating Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us branding company that maintains existing global license agreements and can invest in and create new, domestic, retail operating businesses under the Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us names.”
While details have not yet been solidified, USA Today reported that plans to reorganize the company are being drafted out of the Toys R Us headquarters in New Jersey.
Perhaps the best news? Geoffrey the Giraffe plans to stick around.