Toys R Us will close its remaining 735 U.S. stores and will lay off about 33,000 employees around the country. The company tried to survive after a bankruptcy filing in 2017, but the retailer can't compete with large stores, such as Walmart, and online sellers, such as Amazon.
Critics say Toys R Us failed to generate excitement, as one analyst describes in The Washington Post article:
“The liquidation of Toys R Us is the unfortunate but inevitable conclusion of a retailer that lost its way. Even during recent store closeouts, Toys R Us failed to create any sense of excitement. The brand lost relevance, customers and ultimately sales.”
A professor of brand management echoed this theme:
“We know that customers are willing to pay more for an enjoyable experience — just look at the lines at Starbucks every day — but Toys R Us has failed to give us anything special or unique. You can find more zest for life in a Walgreens.”
New York Senator Chuck Schumer is asking for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ensure that customers aren't left "holding the bag" if they can't cash in or buy products with gift cards, particularly those recently received in December for Christmas.
Toys R Us has only a short statement on its website announcing the liquidation.
- Should the company leaders say more about the decision? What else, if anything, could be included in the statement?
- In addition to legal responsibilities, do company leaders have ethical responsibilities to make good on outstanding gift cards? Why or why not?
- In what ways has the company failed to learn from failure?