The tumultuous history of Toys R Us as it attempts a digital return

  • Toys R Us is still working toward a comeback after it was purchased by Tru Kids Brands in 2019, two years after the retailer filed for bankruptcy and permanently closed all of its stores. 
  • Efforts under Tru Kids Brands — including holiday pop-up shops and a relaunched website supported by Amazon — haven’t quite managed to embody the spirit of the iconic decades-old brand. 
  • We took a closer look at the tumultuous history of the company, from its swift rise and eventual downfall to its recent resurgence. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Toys R Us has been trying to make a comeback for the past year.

The beloved toy store seemingly rose from the dead in 2019 after it was purchased by Tru Kids Brands, which has since opened holiday pop-up shops and relaunched a website in the toy retailer’s name.

The revitalization efforts came after Toys R Us filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017 and — after failing to find a buyer to help refinance the company’s mounting debt — ultimately shuttered and liquidated all 700-plus stores in an emotional farewell.

Though the prognosis for the new Toys R Us remains uncertain, as current pop-up stores don’t actually generate any money for the brand — with toy manufacturers keeping all the profits — and the website only redirecting users to make purchases on Amazon, there’s no denying the company’s decades-long history as a top American toy seller. 

After it was founded by Charles Lazarus in 1948, the company flourished by serving children and their families around the country — helping to put some of the most popular toys like Mr. Potato Head and Easy Bake Oven on the map.

We took a closer look at the history of the company over the years. 

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