Toys R Us shuts flagship store in Times Square citing costly rent

NEW YORK - For decades, children visiting New York City savoured one stop above all: a trip to the kind of toy store that existed only in their imagination.

See Full Article

Now they'll have to keep dreaming.

The massive Toys R Us superstore in Times Square, which wowed shoppers with a 18-metre tall indoor Ferris wheel, a growling, 6-metre animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex, and a life-size Barbie dollhouse, had its last shopping day Wednesday.

The closing ended a 14-year-run as a must-visit destination for any family willing to brave the big crowds. It followed the July closing of F.A.O. Schwarz, the palace of expensive and unique toys romanticized in the 1988 film "Big."

Shoppers and tourists came out Wednesday for a last look at the type of extravagance unavailable to shoppers online or at the local mall.

"It's a one-in-a-million type of place," said Janet Roman, of Berlin, Connecticut, as she gave her 9-year-old grand-nephew, Sherman Williams, his first - and last - tour of the over-the-top store. "Our Toys R Us doesn't have a Ferris wheel in it."

A steady stream of people coursed through the 110,000-square-foot space smack dab in the heart of the Crossroads of the World. Shoppers rushed to buy must-go gifts and games. Others took photos outside. The truly ambitious waited on a long, winding line to get one last ride on the Ferris wheel.

"When they were little guys, this was the big thing," said Mike Packer, of Wayne, Pennsylvania, whose 18-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter decided, for nostalgia's sake, to take a final spin.

"This is like an event to come here. It's an afternoon," added his wife, Lisa Packer. "It's obviously fun for all ages."

Toys R Us opened in Times Square in 2001, when the neighbourhood was still only a few years removed from its bad-old-days as a centre for adult entertainment and grime. The company decided not to renew its lease, which expires in January, because of the high cost of renting the space, company spokeswoman Elizabeth Gaerlan said.

Toys R Us also cited high rent costs in July when it closed F.A.O. Schwarz, when had enraptured generations of children in two locations near Central Park.

She said the company is searching for another Manhattan flagship store and will try to find positions for those among the more than 350 employees of the store who want to keep working at Toys R Us.

C. Bradley Mendelson, an agent for the building's owner, Bow Tie Partners, said that at roughly $2,000 per square foot, rental prices for ground-floor space in the area have become extraordinarily expensive - and with 21,000 square feet of it, Toys R Us simply had too much space to cover.

"That's a lot of rent," he said. "Rent has gone from $400-a-square-foot to $2,000 in the last 15 years when they rented the space."

Two retailers, Gap and Old Navy, have signed leases to occupy some of the ground-floor space and other parts of the building and will move in by mid-2016, Mendelson said.

"Here's really the story about why they're leaving," he said. "The rents have gone so high that nobody can afford that amount of ground floor space in Times Square."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Nortel Canada to start paying billions to creditors

    Economic CBC News
    Nortel Canada's long-suffering creditors will finally begin to receive their share of more than US$4 billion to be distributed under a plan approved in January, eight years after the former technology titan began bankruptcy proceedings. Nortel Networks Corp. Source
  • Nortel Canada to start paying billions to creditors; first instalment by July

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Nortel Canada's long-suffering creditors will finally begin to receive their share of more than US$4 billion to be distributed under a plan approved in January, eight years after the former technology titan began bankruptcy proceedings. Source
  • Que. construction strike: Day 3 kicks off with little to show at bargaining table

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- There is little progress to report at the table as Quebec's construction strike enters Day 3. Eric Cote, a spokesman for one association of employers, says negotiations resumed late Thursday and that representatives for his group emerged early today suggesting they were a waste of time. Source
  • Ford's ex-CEO leaves company with $51.1M US

    Economic CBC News
    Ford's former CEO Mark Fields is leaving the company with an estimated $51.1 million US in cash, stock awards and pension benefits. Fields, 56, retired earlier this week after three years as CEO. Ford made record profits during his tenure but its stock price dropped nearly 40 per cent on investors' concerns about the company's future. Source
  • Ford's ex-CEO leaves company with US$51.1 million

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- Ford's former CEO Mark Fields is leaving the company with an estimated US$51.1 million in cash, stock awards and pension benefits. Fields, 56, retired earlier this week after three years as CEO. Source
  • Rising program expenses propel fed 2016-17 deficit to $21.8B: preliminary estimate

    Economic CBC News
    A preliminary analysis of the federal books suggests the government ran a 2016-17 deficit of $21.8 billion to put the Liberals close to their projection for the fiscal year. The Trudeau government's spring budget projected a shortfall of $23 billion for the fiscal year, without counting a $3-billion risk adjustment added to the accounting framework. Source
  • Feds run $21.8B deficit in 16-17, putting them close to target: early analysis

    Economic CBC News
    A preliminary analysis of the federal books suggests the government ran a 2016-17 deficit of $21.8 billion to put the Liberals close to their projection for the fiscal year. The Trudeau government's spring budget projected a shortfall of $23 billion for the fiscal year, without counting a $3-billion risk adjustment added to the accounting framework. Source
  • U.S. GDP reading for start of year revised upward, but still weak

    Economic CBC News
    The U.S. economy started 2017 out with a whimper, but it wasn't quite as weak as first thought. The government revised up its January-March growth reading to a rate of 1.2 per cent — better than an earlier estimate of 0.7 per cent but well below President Donald Trump's ambitious growth targets. Source
  • BlackBerry expecting US$940 million in Qualcomm dispute resolution

    Economic CTV News
    WATERLOO, Ont. -- BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB) says it will receive US$940 million from Qualcomm by May 31 to settle a dispute over royalty payments. An arbitrator sided with BlackBerry in April, and announced an interim award of US$814.9 million plus additional amounts for interest and legal fees. Source
  • World shares weaken ahead of G7 meeting; oil bottoms out

    Economic CTV News
    HONG KONG -- World stock markets weakened Friday as investors awaited the upcoming G-7 summit and oil prices rebounded somewhat as markets shook off initial disappointment over a production cut deal. KEEPING SCORE: European shares opened lower, with France's CAC 40 down 0.8 per cent to 5,297.13 and Germany's DAX lost 0.5 per cent to 12,561.85. Source