Toys “R” Us Could Be Making Big Comeback But Major Toy Makers Aren’t Enthused

Toys “R” Us’s bankruptcy was a big blow for toy makers and for the economy last year.

The company’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September of 2017 may have contributed to a disappointing jobs report last summer.

The gains in retail jobs “were offset by a decline of 32,000 in sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores, reflecting job losses in hobby, toy, and game stores,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said at the time.

The well renown toy store may be making a come back but toy makers aren’t thrilled with the news just yet.

When Toys “R” Us closed hundreds of retail stores in the U.S. last year, it was a big blow for toy companies that relied on the chain for their toys to be sold.

Both Hasbro and Mattel had very hard years last year as Toys “R” Us liquidated its inventory.  Hasbro’s full year sales dropped 12% to $4.58 billion in 2018. Adjusted earnings fell to $1.33 a share from $2.30 a share in 2017. Mattel saw its net sales fall 8% from the prior year to $4.51 billion. The company’s adjusted loss tallied $1.14 a share versus a loss of $1.21 a share in 2017.

Former Toys ‘R’ Us executives have began a new firm called Tru Kids which is being led by former Toys ‘R’ Us Chief Merchandising Officer Richard Barry.

The new brand owns the rights to mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us. The company plans to open 70 new stores overseas this year. There has been no word about any domestic  stores yet.

Toy makers reacted to the news however. “I think Toys ‘R’ Us is serious about opening up new retail stores — we have meetings scheduled with them for the toy fair,” said Funko CEO Brian Mariotti to Yahoo Finance. “We will be great partners, we will listen to what they have to say and evaluate the opportunity. We wish them nothing but the best.” Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said to Yahoo Finance, “We haven’t met with Toys ‘R’ Us yet — we remain open-minded, but no conversations yet.”