For the first time in more than 60 years, there are no Toys “R” Us stores for grown-ups to take their kids’ Christmas shopping lists, after the national retailer filed bankruptcy and closed all its stores in the United States earlier this year.
Who is picking up the slack? Some of the usual suspects, the big box retailers such as Walmart and Target, and the online titan, Amazon.
But toys are also lining shelves at some of the places you might not expect such as Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, in Cheektowaga and the Town of Niagara, where toy sales are said to be booming.
Toy sales are also up at Clayton’s Toys in Williamsville, where the demise of Toys “R” Us is having an effect, said store co-owner Kellie Klos.
“It has been an interesting year trying to figure out what to order, and how much to order because we were not sure how it was going to impact our sales. It has definitely increased our sales.”
Klos considers Clayton’s Toys a specialty store, selling tried-and-true toys, but always open to new ideas. While the loss of Toy “R” Us has been blamed partially on the growth of Internet sales, Clayton’s does have an online presence, but Klos said there is no substitute for good personal service.
“You are either going to be specialty or you are going to be online, and you have to do it right. You have to give great customer service, you have to give people what they want, and do it with a smile.”
There has been talk of Toys “R” Us making a comeback–creditors have called off a sale of the retailer’s assets to try to resurrect the national chain–but nothing has formally materialized.
While the Toys “R” Us shutdown has wiped out all the stores in the United States, and most of the international stores, Toys “R” Us Canada is still alive, including a store in Toronto, and another just across the border in St. Catharines, Ontario.