DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A generation of Toys R Us kids remembers the famous jjngle, “I don’t want to grow up! I’m a Toys R Us kid.”
But they did grow up – and started shopping online. Drowning in debt, the retail giant announced in March it would liquidate its more than 700 stores. The stores will close for the last time Friday.
“The inventory’s been reduced so dramatically, and it’s just amazing. Now that it’s 80 to 90 percent off, it’s just phenomenal the deals you can get,” said shopper Isaac Allen.
“I’m heartbroken, because I like Toys R Us. I always shop there for Christmas. I guess now I’ll go online and start shopping,” said Deborah Gilbert.
While customers mourn, the buildings – ranging from around 35,000 to 75,000 square feet – are already being pursued. Mark Reeder and Ryan Johnson are with SRS Real Estate Partners, which has represented Toys R Us as a tenant.
“Toys R Us did a really good job of picking out good real estate. So there’s retailers waiting in line wanting the opportunity to back fill those opportunities,” said Reeder.
“If it’s a good market and a good retail center, I think there are going to be gyms wanting to go there. I think there are going to be entertainment concepts, whether it be bowling alleys or other family entertainment venues or movie theaters.” Johnson said.
And don’t be surprised, they say, if landlords remember the Toys R Us excitement and nostalgia when deciding who comes in next.
“Landlords want to recreate that, and I think what they’ll do is landlords will search for the best tenant to fit within the tenant mix of the shopping center.”
Party City is trying to capture some of the Toys R Us business left behind. They will open 50 pop-up toy stores from September through the holiday season.