Last Updated on January 3, 2020 by Danielle
MGA Entertainment’s CEO has spearheaded an effort to save Toys R Us from being ripped away from the industry and future generations with the #SaveToysRUs campaign.
The rise and fall of iconic toy retailer Toys R Us is a tragic American story. Toys R Us was a dream toy destination for countless generations of children, fulfilling millions of kids’ Christmas and Birthday Wish Lists for nearly six decades.
Many people will treasure their favorite experiences of Toys R Us throughout their lives. Toys R Us may have failed to deliver the same memorable experience in recent years due to its massive accrued debt, which prevented it from investing in its stores and online experience. But the fact is that Toys R Us is irreplaceable.
Toys R Us was known for sprawling warehouses full of aisles and aisles of toys and there’s no other retailer that comes even remotely close to delivering the same experience. Sorry, not Walmart, Target, nor K-Mart. It was a massive showroom for thousands of toys and helped many bigger toy companies as well as smaller ones succeed over the years. Toys R Us accounted for roughly 15 percent to 20 percent of the US toy industry revenue, and it was well-recognized for its infamous jingle ‘I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid” and its family-friendly mascot Geoffrey the giraffe.
But how can such a beloved brand that served countless families for 70 years be ripped right out of our lives in an instant? And if Toys R Us does disappear altogether that could mean future generations will perhaps never bear witness to an experience even remotely similar. A huge part of American kids’ childhood is at stake.
But MGA Entertainment’s CEO Isaac Larian is not going to let Toys R Us slip away so easily without a fight. In fact, reportedly he is spearheading an effort to save Toys R Us with the #SaveToysRUs campaign, which has been trending on social media. There has been an outpouring of nostalgia and support for the initiative.
Larian said in a statement: “Losing Toys R Us will have a devastating effect on the whole toy business and on innovation. No other retailer can fill the gap. I ask all other toy company CEOs and owners to please join me on this effort.” Larian believes roughly 130,000 U.S. jobs could be lost, accounting for Toys R Us employees, suppliers, and logistical operations employees.
So Larian is rallying with other fellow toy industry colleagues to salvage Toys R Us with what he has coined as the #SaveToysRUs campaign. Larian and other investors have pledged $200 million of their own money with hopes of raising $1 billion in funding with a crowdfunding effort to potentially save as many as half of Toys R Us’s 735 U.S. Stores. It’s a bold and courageous move to save Toys R Us for the sake of the industry as well as for future generations. If successful, he and his joint investors would be credited as being instrumental in rescuing Toys R Us. They understand the huge ramifications of losing Toys R Us and its impact on the toy industry.
Toys R Us accounts for roughly 15 to 20 percent of US toy revenue. That will certainly deal a big blow to the industry – not only in terms of sales but also to innovation. Plus, roughly 20 percent of MGA Entertainment’s sales are generated at Toys R Us stores, which could potentially result in layoffs at MGA. Toys R Us was known for taking chances on innovation from smaller companies. In contrast, big box retailers, such as Target and Walmart, take a more cautious approach when purchasing toys for their product assortments. Some smaller companies may not have an outlet for their products if Toys R Us is wiped out for good.
Larian said, “I am going to get a bunch of investors (myself included) together and try to save as much of Toys R Us as possible and hire a great guy or gal to run it independently. We need to do this for our kids and grandkids.” The toy industry needs a national presence like Toys R Us not only because it allows kids to physically interact with toys before they buy, but also because designers benefit from getting reactions to the toys as they’re pulled from the shelves.
Larian has already put in a bid to buy Canadian Toys R Us stores which are doing good business. He also previously stated that he would attempt to save at least 200 U.S. Toys R Us retail locations. It is likely Larian would be most interested in Toys R Us’s top-performing stores. According to Larian, if 400 stores were salvaged, roughly about one-third of the 130,000 jobs could be saved. He also had mentioned that if was able to close the deal, he would continue to operate it under the same Toys R Us brand name.
This social campaign to rescue Toys R Us is generating much support and commendation for being a great initiative; however, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will translate into real action. A bankruptcy judge would also have to approve this rather unusual plan. Everyone in the industry as well as loyal fans will be closely watching this developing news as it unfolds to see what transpires in the comings days and months ahead. Now the question on everyone’s mind is: Will Toys R Us be saved or will it just become another distant memory?