Don't Throw Away Those Geoffrey Dollars Just Yet
Almost everyone remembers trips to Toys "R" Us as a child or as a parent. The company, which was founded in 1957, was the go-to toy store for decades. As with countless brick-and-mortar retailers, Toys "R" Us couldn't overcome the retail apocalypse.
On September 18, 2017, Toys "R" Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company, which hadn't reported an annual profit since 2013, had $5 billion in long-term debt that cost $400 million per-year to service. While the rise of e-commerce certainly hurt Toys "R" Us, some believe the company's debt became too large following an acquisition by a group of private equity investors. Toys "R" Us failed to invest in its stores to compete with the likes of Amazon, Target and Walmart.
Within a year of filing for bankruptcy, Toys "R" Us liquidated its business and closed all of its U.S. stores, around 800 of them, after 70 years of operations. The death of Toys "R" Us, which accounted for 15% to 20% of U.S. toy sales, cost around 30,000 employees their jobs. Toys "R" Us was so important to the toy industry that news of its liquidation even sent shares of toy makers Mattel and Hasbro tumbling.
Tru Kids, the company that was created following the purchase of Toys "R" Us' intellectual property, isn't going to let the nostalgia fade. They are bringing Toys "R" Us back to life with its first new brick-and-mortar store. The store, which is opening as a smaller-format, will open in Paramus, NJ tomorrow with a second store opening in Houston, TX in early December. Tru Kids is planning to open 10 stores in the U.S. in 2020, with the possibility of a larger New York flagship store.
"We believe that Toys "R" Us was renowned, and customers really saw us as the experts in the space," said Richard Barry, president and CEO of Tru Kids. "And we want to make sure we deliver on that, but in a very different way than we were before, because this is a ... high-touch, experiential store."
Just last month through a partnership with Target, Toys "R" Us relaunched its website, redirecting customers to Target's website to complete the check out. "We spoke to a lot of different folks as we went through this process," Barry said. "What inspired me about Target was their investment in the category."
While it is yet to be determined if Toys "R" Us can be successful in its efforts to make a comeback, many people are likely rooting for the company's success on nostalgia alone. With Black Friday all the rage today and the shopping season in full gear, shoppers will once again be able to purchase the hottest toys at Toys "R" Us just as they have for decades.
Luckily trade talks are going "very well." Following U.S. President Donald Trump's signing of two bills supporting the Hong Kong protests, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the U.S. has "sinister intentions" and its "plot" is "doomed to fail." Trump released a statement saying "I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong." Chinese state media posted a statement from the Hong Kong liaison office saying "We are officially telling the U.S. and the handful of opposition politicians in Hong Kong who follow America’s lead to not underestimate our determination to protect Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability."
That was quick. Just one day after Twitter announced it would remove inactive accounts, the company said it will "pause" the plan amid user backlash. Twitter said it won't follow through with the plan until it finalizes a process for "memorialising" dead users. Twitter said not having a policy already in place for users who have passed away was a "miss on our part." Once Twitter comes up with a policy, account deactivations will begin in the EU first to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
There's no rush to buy homes in Hong Kong. Hong Kong, which is one of the most expensive cities in the world, saw home prices drop for a fifth-consecutive month as the country continues to deal with the protests that began in March. October home prices fell 1.3% compared with a revised drop of 1.7% in September, according to government data. In a move to appease first-time home buyers, the government now allows prospective buyers to borrow as much as 90% of a home costing up to HK$8 million, or $1 million. Hong Kong home prices are still up 4.6% so far this year.
Whoops. Morgan Stanley has reportedly fired or placed on leave at least four traders after they allegedly mismarked securities that concealed losses of between $100 million and $140 million. The trades were reportedly linked to traders in London and New York trading emerging-market currencies. A spokesman for Morgan Stanley declined to comment.
It's not just policymakers. Following in the footsteps of policymakers, who are increasingly worried about climate change, European investors are now pushing for top auditors to take action on climate-related risks. A consortium of 29 investors managing assets worth more than 1 trillion pounds, or $1.28 trillion, are warning that failure to do so could be more costly than the financial crisis. "The overarching thing is that we don’t want another financial crisis, and this could be a lot worse," said Natasha Landell-Mills, who is overseeing the campaign.