Charles Lazarus Dead - Toys 'R' Us Founder Dies at 94

Charles Lazarus who founded Toys

Toys "R" Us formally announced it had begun the process of liquidating and closing its stores in the United States last week when it asked a court for approval to sell off inventory in all 735 USA stores.

Isaac Larian, the CEO of the company that makes Bratz dolls, has a plan to save Toys "R" Us.

"$1 billion may seem like a staggering goal, but it would take a very large sum to create a successful bid for the acquisition of such a large entity", Larian says on the site.

Toys "R" Us filed for bankruptcy last September, citing an increasingly competitive retail landscape and long-term debt of more than $5 billion.

Lazarus, the son of a bicycle store owner, modeled his business after the self-service supermarkets that were becoming popular in the 1950s, stacking merchandise high to give shoppers the feeling it had an infinite number of toys. The group is looking to raise up to another $800 million via a GoFundMe campaign. Two Toys R Us stores in south St. Louis County Thursday had signs posted saying the liquidation sales have not yet started.

Toys R Us is kicking off its going-out-of-business sales at some stores on Thursday, a week after announcing plans to sell or close all of its USA stores. Delighted manufacturers ran proposed products by his company before committing to wide-scale production, according to a 1986 article in Atlantic Monthly magazine, which called Lazarus "the person most responsible for loosening Santa's grip on the toy business".

Toys "R" Us is closing its remaining 740 stores in the USA and eliminating an estimated 30,000 jobs.

Outside, customers greeted news of the toy store's demise with a mix of sadness and nostalgia. "People say that if there is no Toys R Us another retailer will pick up the slack".

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If as many as 400 stores can be saved, it is Larian's hope that a third of the 130,000 jobs he sees as lost could be rescued.

It is, admittedly, a long shot.

It seems that there was some confusion and liquidation sales did not kick in yet at the company's 735 stores around the country. All Toys R Us locations will close soon.

In last week's filing, the company said it was in talks with interested parties about combining up to 200 top performing USA stores with its Canadian operations.

Toys R Us will likely liquidate its businesses in Australia, France, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

Some parents said they were disappointed about the closure of their childhood toy store, but others were upset by how little the store was willing to drop prices.

Known for his feisty demeanor, well-tailored suits and being a tough competitor - MGA was locked in years-long litigation with Mattel - Larian immigrated to the United States from Iran as a teenager in 1971.

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