Author: Jackie Breyer

Saving Toys “R” Us: What Will Tomorrow Bring?

I, along with the rest of the toy industry, am extremely saddened by the closure of Toys “R” Us’ U.S. stores. Toys “R” Us played an important role in our childhoods and our children’s childhoods; it stood for fun, for play—for being a kid. When I told my dad about the impending closures, he said, “Wow, I remember standing in the aisles, waiting for the pallets of Cabbage Patch Kids to come in so I could get one for you for Christmas.” Personally, I remember buying my first bike there, buying a sandbox with real sand, and the tremendous...

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Toys “R” Us Prepares for Possible Liquidation

Bloomberg reported Toys “R” Us Inc. is making preparations for a liquidation of its bankrupt U.S. operations after so far failing to find a buyer or reach a debt restructuring deal with lenders, according to people familiar with the matter. While the situation is still fluid, a shutdown of the U.S. division has become increasingly likely in recent days, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Hopes are fading that a buyer will emerge to keep some of the business operating, or that lenders will agree on terms of a debt restructuring,...

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The Strong Announces 2017 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductees

The paper airplane, the Wiffle Ball, and the game of Clue are the latest inductees to The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame. The honorees were selected from a field of 12 finalists that also included the Magic 8 Ball, Matchbox Cars, My Little Pony, PEZ Candy Dispenser, play food, Risk, sand, Transformers, and Uno. About paper airplane: Artist and inventor Leonardo DaVinci sketched and designed flying creations using parchment in the 15th century. Later, in the early 19th century, Sir George Cayley identified four primary forces—lift, drag, weight, and thrust—which eventually helped the Wright Brothers first take flight...

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Toys “R” Us Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Toys “R” Us Inc. last night announced that the company and certain of its U.S. subsidiaries and its Canadian subsidiary have voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, VA. In addition, the company’s Canadian subsidiary today intends to seek protection in parallel proceedings under the companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (“CCAA”) in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Toys “R” Us intends to use these court-supervised proceedings to restructure its outstanding debt and establish a sustainable capital structure that will enable it to invest in long-term growth. The company’s operations outside of the U.S. and Canada, including its approximately 255 licensed stores and joint venture partnership in Asia, which are separate entities, are not part of the Chapter 11 filing and CCAA proceedings. The company’s approximately 1,600 Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores around the world continue to operate as usual. Customers should expect the company’s loyalty programs, including its Rewards “R” Us, Geoffrey’s Birthday List, and Babies “R” Us Registry, to continue as normal. “Today marks the dawn of a new era at Toys “R” Us where we expect that the financial constraints that have held us back will be addressed in a lasting and effective way,” said Dave Brandon, chairman and CEO in a statement. “Together with our investors,...

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Tech 4 Kids and The Bridge Merge

Strategic Partnership Aims to Yield Growth and New Opportunities The toy industry is known for its mergers and acquisitions. They say no one leaves the toy industry—they just move around. One of the main reasons for this is the opportunity for growth. While some companies grow slowly but steadily with a hit here and a hit there, some of the most successful companies in this industry got to where they are via strategic acquisitions or mergers. Toy industry giants such as Mattel, Hasbro, Spin Master, and Jakks Pacific show how vital these moves are to taking a company to the next level. The first, critical step is finding a complementary, like-minded company with which to merge. Brad Pedersen, president and CEO of Tech 4 Kids, and Jay Foreman, president and CEO of The Bridge Direct, met at toy industry event PlayCon several years ago, where they were introduced by a mutual colleague. “This is a very social business, and while we all compete in some way, there are always opportunities and synergies that like-minded people can find to make their businesses stronger,” says Pedersen. This year, Pedersen and Foreman will merge The Bridge Direct and Tech 4 Kids into a new company focused on classic play. The new company will have an entirely new name (yet to be determined), and will be managed in North America and Hong Kong by...

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