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et tu, Toys R Us? Retail getting hit pretty hard lately thread

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Jamaican Mario Scholar:
Toys R Us could file for bankruptcy this week

I had no idea they were in trouble.

I was thinking of making a thread like this about the recent retail apocalypse that seems to be occurring of late. I was talking with some people at work about this a week or two ago when the news was first being reported. I had no idea that Toys R Us was in rough shape either until I saw that news.

I don't know what things are like in the states but in Canada we've seen a retail chain called Zellers get bought out by Target who then opened branches of their stores in the previous Zeller locations only to fold up in a couple years and pull out of Canada. We had an electronics chain called Future Shop that was owned by Best Buy. A couple years ago, all Future Shops were immediately shut down one day out of the blue and only Best Buy locations remain. Earlier this year, HMV went bankrupt and shut down. That one hurt as I still liked to go to their stores and browse through the music. I still buy CDs myself but I guess I seem to be one of the last holdouts still doing that. Sears appears to be in trouble and is shutting down a bunch of locations. Toys R Us in now in this financial crisis. I'm wondering if there is something else I'm forgetting. I feel there is but can't think of it.

My thinking for a thread like this was "Retail Getting Hit Hard Lately" like the famous Sony thread we had during the initial Wii years but never got around to making it. Good job beating me to Invincible DK.

Ian Sane:
Seeing this happen to retail just seems so odd because it's like a different world is causing it.  I always go to stores to buy things.  I have to commute to work anyway and it's all just a quick stop on the way home.  I buy things online that I can't find in local stores, essentially the same sorts of things that historically I would order from a catalog or I would have to ask the store to bring in for me.  Isn't that mentality how Amazon got started?  In the old days bookstores were a common store for which you would ask if the store could order in some semi-obscure product that they weren't carrying and Amazon took that idea to an online book store (for any young people reading this: did you know was strictly an online book store at first?)  I don't know anyone who doesn't frequent brick and mortar stores.  My friends and family have the same habits that I do and it isn't like when I go to a store it's a barren wasteland with no customers.

But aside from a few co-workers I pretty much never associate with anyone under the age of 30 ever.  So the best I can figure is that the younger generation, particularly those raised entirely in the internet age (I was already in high school when I found out the internet even existed), are not going to retail stores with the same frequency as earlier generations and that's killing things off.

Though I find buying online to have some annoyances that seem idiotic to put up with when there's an alternative.  You have to wait for the item to arrive which seems like a stupid thing to put up with if I can literally drive five minutes to the store and get the item right NOW.  You have to pay for shipping so that adds an extra cost to everything.  Okay driving has a cost too but if I incorporate with driving I'm doing already then it adds virtually no cost at all.  You also still have to go out to either buy groceries or eat at a restaurant so it's not like you never leave home, unless you just order delivery all the time.

Now something like HMV I can see because buying media digitally is very convenient and there is no shipping cost or transit time.  It's more of an instant gratification than driving to a store.  But Toys 'R' Us sells physical TOYS.  You can't digitally download a toy so now you're dealing with shipping issues again.

Here's another potential generation gap thing.  When I was a kid I loved browsing toy stores like Toys 'R' Us.  Do kids today find that fun?  Or do they just look at pictures and videos of toys online and wouldn't be impressed or interested in a store lined up with toys as far as the eye can see?  I don't have kids or any nieces or nephews so I'm rather clueless as to what kids today like doing.

Waiting for shipping and paying for shipping are much smaller concerns with Amazon. A Prime membership adds up to about $10 a month and in addition to free 2-day shipping on everything they sell it includes huge libraries of streaming video, music, and ebooks. It's a spectacular value when you factor everything in, and most of the time waiting 2 days is nothing.

Jamaican Mario Scholar:
Well that's Canada for ya. What else is there to do up there besides shop?


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