🠈 Toys Were Us 🠊
Toys Were Us
Companies in the toy industry have followed a pattern where they expand rapidly. The stores then implode. I created this page to display the merger chain of Kay-Bee Toys and Toys-R-Us.
NOTE a company called Strategic Marks LLC owns the KB Toys brand. They create "pop up" stores which appear then liquidate. A firm called Tru Kids Brands (TruKidsBrands.com) owns the Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us brands in the United States. Toys "R" Us Canada is now an independent chain.
In this video company discusses the decline of the store.
This section shows select pieces of the merger chain involving Toys "Я" Us. The chain follows ownership. It so happened that a company called Interstate Stores Inc. acquired Toys "Я" Us then changed its name; So, I will start the story with Interstate.
- 1928: Interstate Department Stores, led by Leo G. Federman, incorporated as a holding company for 23 department stores in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Brands included Federman Department Stores and Stillman Department Stores.
- 1928: Interstate opened Hill's Dry Goods Co. in Davenport, Iowa, and The Evansville Dry Goods Co. in Evansville, Indiana.
- 1929: Interstate acquired the Aurora Dry Goods Company of Aurora, Illinois and Waukegan Dry Goods Co. of Waukegan, Illinois.
- 1959: Interstate acquired White Front which had two discount stores in Los Angeles for $1.6 million.
History of White Front
White Front was a chain of discount stores. It took the name as it put the washers and dryers in the front row creating a white front.
- 1929: The chain started in Los Angeles.
- 1957: White Front opened its second store in Van Nuys, Ca.
- 1959: Interstate opened Family Fair stores in Toledo, and Canton, Ohio bringing their total to 49.
- 1960: Interstate acquired the Topps Department Stores chain of discount stores for $4 million.
- 1957: Frank Beckerman opened the first Topps in Hartford, Connecticut.
- 1966: Interstate Stores Inc. acquired Toys R Us, keeping Lazarus as manager.
The Founding of Toys R Us
Most histories of this chain start with the founding of Toys "R" Us. I believe that historians should look at the owner and not the brand. This section shows the early history of the brand.
- 1948: Charles P. Lazarus began selling baby furniture out of his father's bike shop.
- 1952: Lazarus opened a supermarket with baby furniture and toys.
- 1957: Lazarus opened the first Toys "Я" Us store in Rockville, Maryland. The R is backwards. UTF8 includes the cyrillic letter Я which doesn't work on all computers.
- 1967: Interstate acquired Children's Supermart in Washington, DC.
- 1967: Interstate acquired Children's Bargain Town in Chicago.
- 1970: The company took the name Interstate Stores, Inc..
- 1974: Interstate tried to acquire assets of McCrory Stores.
- 1974: Interstate filed for bankruptcy and closed the White Front chain. They had 51 Toys "R" Us stores at the time.
- 1974: The Two Guys chain of discount stores acquired several Topps and White Front locations.
- 1978: Interstate emerged from bankruptcy and changed its name to Toys "R" Us, Inc. with 63 stores.
- 1983: Company opened the Kids "R" Us clothing stores.
- 1984: Chain expanded to Canada and Singapore.
- 1996: Company launced Babies "R" Us.
- 1997: Toys "R" Us acquired Baby Superstore, Inc., which had 78 stores, for $376 million.
- 1998: Company launched internet site.
- 1999: Toys "Я" Us acquired Imaginarium which sold educational toys.
- 2000: Company formed a strategic alliance with Amazon.com.
- 2005: Bain Capital Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and Vornado Realty Trust acquired Toys "R" Us for $6.6 billion. (businesswire)
- 2009: Toys-R-Us acquired the trademarks and assets of KB Toys:
History of Kay-Bee Toys
- 1922: Donald and Richard Kaufman started a candy company called Kaufman Brothers in Pittsfield, Ma.
- 194?: They acquired the business of a toy wholesaler that owned them money. During WWII the cost of sugar rose hurting their candy store.
- 1948: the brothers left the candy business and became full time toy sellers.
- 1973: Company switched from wholesale with the name Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby.
- 1977: the company changed its name to Kay-Bee Toy and Hobby Shops Inc..
- 1981: Melville Corporation acquired KB and changed the name to Kay-Bee Toy Stores.
- 1982: KB acquired Toy World which had 52 stores
- 1982: KB acquired Circus World which had 330 stores.
- 1991: KB acquired K&K Toys which had 133 stores.
- 1993-94: KB closed 250 underperforming stores.
- 1996: Consolidated Stores Corporation acquired KB for $300 million. Consolidated shortened the name to KB Toys.
- 2000: Bain Capital acquired chain for $305 million.
- 2001: KB Toys acquired the bulk of the assets of eToys.com in a bankruptcy auction.
- 2004: KB filed chapter 11 and closed 600 stores and laid off 3,500.
- 2005: KB emerged from Chapter-11 owned primarily by Prentice Capital Management.
- 2008: KB filed bankruptcy and closed all stores.
- 2009: SteamBank acquired trademarks and IP which it sold to Toys-R-Us.
- 2016: Strategic Marks LLC acquired the lapsed trademark for "KB Toys".
- 2009: Toys "R" Us acquired the The Parent Company which had acquired the remaining assets of eToys.com. They also owned babyuniverse.com.
- 2017: Toys "R" Us filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy claiming $5 billion in outstanding debt.
- 2018: Toys "R" Us closed all of its US Stores.
- 2018: Fairfax Financial acquired the Canadian stores.
- 2019: Tru Kids Brands was formed to hold the intellectual property of Toys R Us with the hope of reviving the brand.
- Berkshire Eagle-Massive layoffs at KB Toys (Drawn 6/28/2018)
- Funding Universe - Toys R Us (Drawn 10/3/2019)
Prev ~ ~ Index ~ ~ Next