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Toys "R" Us
Type Private
Founded 1948 (Washington, D.C., U.S.) as Children's Supermarket
1957 (Rockville, Maryland, U.S.) as Toys "R" Us
Headquarters Wayne, New Jersey, United States
Key people Gerald L. Storch Chairman and CEO
Industry Retail
Products Toys
Revenue $13.646 billion USD (2007)[1]
Owner(s) Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
Bain Capital
Vornado Realty Trust
Employees 70,000

Toys "R" Us[1], officially trademarked as Toys Я Us, is a toy store chain based in the United States. The chain also has locations in Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, and Canada. The company currently operates 860 stores in the United States and 716 stores in 34 other countries, with some of them under franchises or licenses. The flagship store in New York City's Times Square is the largest toy store in the world,[2] featuring a colorful Ferris wheel. It is the largest toy-centered retailer and the second largest overall toy retailer in the United States.




The early years

The original Children's Supermart location is now Madam's Organ Blues Bar on 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan

Charles Lazarus initially started Children's Supermart, which would later evolve into the modern day Toys "R" Us in Washington, DC during the post-war baby boom era in 1948 as a baby furniture retailer. Its first location was at 2461 18th St, NW, where the nightclub, Madam's Organ Blues Bar is currently located. Lazarus began receiving requests from customers for baby toys. After adding baby toys, he got requests for more mature toys. Eventually, the focus of the store changed in 1957 and Toys "R" Us as it is known today was born in Rockville, Maryland. Toys "R" Us was acquired in 1966 by Interstate Stores, owner of the White Front and Topps Department Stores as well as Children's Bargain Town USA, a sister toy store chain to Toys "R" Us in the American Midwest which would later be rebranded as part of the Toys "R" Us chain. The original Toys "R" Us store design in the 1970s and 1980s consisted of vertical rainbow stripes and a brown roof with a front entrance and side exit.[3][4] Some brown roof locations still exist, although some were painted different colors or renovated in recent years.

The buyout

In an effort to improve its company, the Board of Directors installed John Eyler, formerly of FAO Schwarz. Eyler launched an unsuccessful, and very expensive plan to remodel and re-launch the chain. Blaming market pressures (primarily competition from Wal-Mart and Target), Toys "R" Us considered splitting its toys and baby businesses. On July 21, 2005, a consortium of Bain Capital Partners LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), and Vornado Realty Trust invested $1.3 billion in new equity to complete the $6.6 billion leveraged buyout of the toy giant. Public stock closed for the last time at $26.74, just pennies from the 68-week high, but far short of its all time high of almost $45 in fourth-quarter 1993, and its five-year high of $31 in 2Q 2001. Toys "R" Us is now a privately owned entity. However, the company still files with the Securities and Exchange Commission as required by its debt agreements.[5]

Interior of a store in Tel Aviv, Israel. lawsuit

In early 2006, Toys "R" Us won a major battle against after years of bitter battles over their original 10 year contract made at the height of the dotcom boom at the turn of the century. The battle focused on exclusivity rights as viewed from both companies' perspectives. The judge in the matter believed Amazon's top officials were not completely forthcoming in their testimony during the trial:

In her written opinion, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Margaret Mary McVeigh took a rather dim view of the trial testimony of some Amazon executives, including that of the company’s billionaire founder Jeff Bezos, saying she had "no doubt his knowledge and understanding (of the Toys "R" Us agreement) went much deeper than revealed." When pushed on the witness stand, "certain information 'just came back to him'" she said in the ruling, while another of Bezos’ explanations was referred to as "rather childlike."[6]

Toys "R" Us, after winning the right to end its contract with, forged a partnership with GSI Commerce, a company specializing in running e-commerce sites.[7] By the middle of 2006, Amazon's stock had taken serious 15% losses, one consideration being the $50 million per year payment lost from Toys "R" Us. Amazon announced the loss of the case late in the quarter to its stock owners.[8][9]

Closure of 87 stores

On January 9, 2006, Toys "R" Us announced that 87 stores in the United States would close that year, most closing within the spring. Twelve more stores were to be converted to the "Babies "R" Us" format. Approximately 5,000 jobs were eliminated as a result of the closures.[10]

Toys R Us Holiday Express

Toys R Us Holiday Express is a new chain of Toys R Us Stores in the United States, as well as at least one store in Canada, at Eglinton Square. It was founded in the late 2009 by the Toys R Us Company. Toys R Us Holiday Express and Toys R Us share the same logo and toys that are in the stores. In the early 2009 Toys R Us bought all of the Kb Toys stores and has full ownership of the stores and the website. Currently Toys R Us Holiday Express does not have a website but shares a website with the original Toys R Us.

Affiliated chains

Toys "R" Us store at United Square Mall, Singapore
An exterior of a typical second generation Toys "R" Us store in Mount Berry, Georgia, United States.

Toys "R" Us, Inc. also owns other chains/businesses:

  • KB Toys - The KB Toys brand and related copyrights were auctioned off to Toys R Us on September 4, 2009 for $2.1 Million. Plans for KB Toys remains unknown.
  • FAO Schwarz - Upscale toy retailer headquartered in New York City. The store and its Las Vegas satellite were purchased by the company on May 28, 2009.[11]
  • Kids "R" Us - A store chain no longer operating independently, Kids "R" Us deals in 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. One of the Kids "R" Us locations was found at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. That location is now home to Marshalls.
  • Babies "R" Us - Superstores specializing in clothing, furniture, toys and other accessories for babies.
  • Bikes "R" Us - Bike store inside Toys "R" Us (UK only)
  • Geoffrey's Toys "R" Us/Geoffrey - Retailtainment stores named for Toys "R" Us' mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, offering toys, juvenile merchandise, and children's apparel all in one location. Other features include a "Studio G" activity center. Mostly found in the American Midwest, but are also found in Texas, Mississippi, and North Carolina. The first store under the "Geoffrey" banner opened in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, but eventually closed because of poor sales figures. Two other remaining Geoffrey's Toys "R" Us stores in Wisconsin still exist in nearby markets, such as the Northeast Wisconsin market. Other locations include Louisville, Kentucky, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. Each location had a playground at the front of the store. These stores are currently in the process of being reverted back to regular Toys "R" Us stores as of spring 2008, although the name still remains.
  • Toys "R" Us Toy Box (introduced in 2003) - This version of Toys "R" Us is found in Albertsons, Giant, Jewel-Osco supermarkets, and stores in Hong Kong, Philippines and Singapore.
  • Toys "R" Us KidsWorld - A toy superstore format introduced in 1996. Stores were built in Elizabeth, New Jersey (which was remodeled into a Toys "R" US/Babies "R" Us Superstore), and Fairfax, Virginia (which was remodelled in 2006 into a standard Toys "R" Us).
  • Toys "R" Us/Kids "R" Us - co-branded stores found in markets not served by the Geoffrey Stores.
  • Toys "R" Us Express - mini store version of Toys "R" Us, found inside Asian stores. (Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan (Republic of China), Wollongong, Australia and other)
  • Imaginarium - Initially, Imaginarium was an independent chain of kids toy stores with a focus on learning toys, with most of its stores located in malls. Toys "R" Us bought the chain in 1999. Its mascots were Cosmo (a purple puppy) and Professor Fun. When most of the Toys "R" Us stores were remodeled, their redesigned layouts include an Imaginarium department. Imaginarium still exists as a independent store in Portugal.
  • Studio Alice- Found inside Toys "R" Us in Japan.
  • - ecommerce site acquired February 12, 2009 from bankrupt The Parent Company.
  • - another ecommerce site acquired February 12, 2009 from bankrupt The Parent Company.
  • - parenting resource website acquired February 12, 2009 from bankrupt The Parent Company.


The yellow reverse "R" in quotation marks, which is similar to the Cyrillic letter Я, (ISO 9: Я), imitates a small child's backward writing of "R", which is short for "are". The "R" is the most distinctive part of the retailer's colorful kid-friendly logo. The current, modernized Toys "R" Us logo was introduced in 1969 as logo #1, a blue star was added to the logo in late-1998/early-1999 during the Toys "R" Us "Concept 2000" era and is dubbed logo #2, the "Concept 2000 Star" logo. Logo #2 was seen earlier in the 2000s decade on the Nickelodeon game show, Double Dare 2000; and on new "Concept 2000" Toys "R" Us stores or older stores that were converted to "Concept 2000" stores. The "R Us" name was derived as a pun on the founder's first name, Lazarus. The "R Us" name has been imitated by many other businesses. The logo was once again changed on September 24, 2007 as logo #3 with alternating sized characters and a star in the middle of the reverse R. The letter R was changed from yellow to blue 9Though the star in logo #2 is sometimes yellow, letter R Blue). Since May 2008, the UK stores of Toys 'R' Us now use the new logo. Newly refurbished stores now display the revised logo, as does the UK website and all media publications. (Note, the Teesside Park store still carries logo #2)


Geoffrey in his current design.
Geoffrey Jr. in a Toys "R" Us store in Japan.

In the 1960s, an anthropomorphic giraffe cartoon character was introduced as Toys "R" Us' mascot. His name, Geoffrey the Giraffe, followed in the 1970s, after a "Name the Mascot"–type contest. In 1973, Geoffrey was given a family with the addition of his wife Gigi. However, over time and with different marketing campaigns, it has been unclear as to whether Gigi is Geoffrey's wife or sister. Also in 1973, Geoffrey's daughter, Baby Gee, was introduced. In 1979, his son Junior (a.k.a. Geoffrey Junior) was added. Geoffrey was then re-introduced in 2001, after being given a full makeover. He then appeared not as a cartoon character, but rather as a real-life giraffe who talks; an animatronic version of Geoffrey the Giraffe (created by Stan Winston Studios) was voiced by Jim Hanks, brother of actor Tom Hanks, in commercials for radio and television. The character's present appearance is again that of a cartoon.

On September 14, 2009, it was learned that Tweet, a real giraffe also used in the early 2000s commercials, died on Friday, September 11, 2009, after filming his latest movie at the Franklin Park Zoo. The 18-year-old giraffe apparently collapsed while feeding and in the care of his trainer, and had just completed shooting his part in the movie, Kevin James' The Zookeeper.[12]

International locations

Toys "R" Us, International is a separate division which operates the toy stores outside of the United States. Toys "R" Us, International opened its first stores in 1980 in Hong Kong. Today, Toys "R" Us International operates, licenses or franchises approximately 716 toy stores in 34 countries outside the United States.[13]

Toys "R" Us Japan
Toys "R" Us France
Toys "R" Us Japan
  •  Australia, established 1993, 35 stores and 3 Babies "R" Us stores
  •  Austria, 13 Stores
  •  Bahrain
  •  Brunei, Opened August 2000, 2 stores
  •  Canada, established 1984, 65 stores
  •  China, established December 2006, 14 stores: 11 Toys "R" Us Main stores and 2 Toys "R" Us Express stores plus 1 Toy Box
  •  Denmark, established 1995, 13 stores
  •  Egypt, 4 stores
  •  Finland, established 2006, 4 stores
  •  France, established 1987, 120 Stores
  •  Germany, established 1987, 57 Stores
  •  Hong Kong, established 1980, 9 Main stores and 2 Toys "R" Us Express stores[14]
  •  Iceland, Opened October 2007, 3 Stores and at least two more will open.
  •  Israel, established 1995, 27 stores [15]
  •  Japan, established 1989, 150 stores and 20 Babies "R" Us stores
  •  Kuwait
  •  Macau 1 Toys "R" Us Express store
  •  Malaysia, 18 stores: 6 Main stores, 7 Toys "R" Us Express stores and 5 Toy Box
  •  Norway, 8 stores
  •  Philippines, Opened in July 1, 2006, 32 stores: 4 Main stores and 3 Toys "R" Us Express stores plus 25 Toy Box
  •  Portugal
  •  Qatar, 1 store, in Doha
  •  Saudi Arabia, Toys "R" Us has a total of 9 stores in the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia. 4 stores in Jeddah (Western region), 3 stores in Riyadh (Central region), 1 store in Dhahran (Eastern region), 1 Store in Abha (Aseer region), and 1 store opening soon in Madinah and 1 more in Dhahran in Jarir Plaza.
  •  Singapore, established 1984, 6 stores including Vivocity
  •  South Africa, 22 stores [16]
  •  South Korea
  •  Spain
  •  Sweden, established 1994, 15 (one more coming in 2010) stores
  •  Switzerland, 4 Stores
  •  Republic of China, Taiwan 16 stores: 8 Main stores plus 8 Toys "R" Us Express stores
  •  Thailand, established 2005, 9 stores: 3 Main stores + 6 Toys "R" Us Express / Toybox stores
  •  United Arab Emirates
  •  United Kingdom, established 1985, 76 stores and 2 Babies "R" Us stores
  •  United States, established 1948 as Children's Supermart, changed its name to Toys "R" Us in 1957, and in the early 1970s, Interstate Stores, Inc. (now known as Toys "R" Us, Inc.) bought out Children's Bargain Town USA, a similar midwest toy store chain.

Countries where Toys R Us is no longer active

  •  Netherlands, established 1993, 17 stores. All stores continued on March 3, 2009 as Toys XL. Toys "R" Us tried to sell its stores in 1997, but encountered objections from the European Competition regulator.
  •  Turkey, the stores in Turkey are now changed to Toyiki, because the firm that the Toys"R"Us brand was franchised to wanted to create its own brand.


  1. ^ Toys "R" Us 2004 annual report
  2. ^ Times Square - Toys R Us Store - "The World's Largest Toy Store!"
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Wolk, Martin (2006-03-02). "Toys 'R' Us wins suit against". MSNBC — U.S. Business. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  7. ^ E-Commerce Times: Toys 'R' Us wins right to end amazon partnership., March 3, 2006
  8. ^ Monica Soto Ouchi (2006-06-03). "Amazon waited to report impact of Toys R Us split". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  9. ^ Laurie J. Flynn (2006-06-26). "Costs soar at Amazon; stock dives". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  10. ^ "Toys 'R' Us to shutter 87 stores". Pittsburgh Business Times. 2006-01-11. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  11. ^ Toys "R" Us Inc. (2009-05-29). "Toys "R" Us Acquires FAO Schwarz". Press release. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Toys"R"us International - Location Page". 
  14. ^ Toys"R"Us/Babies"R"Us - Toys
  15. ^ List of stores in Israel (Hebrew)
  16. ^

External links


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