Following the closure of Toys R Us stores in June, retailers in the hobby and off-price segments may fill some of the larger empty big-box spaces. Companies such as Big Lots and Ashley Homestore had bid on the properties in bankruptcy court, but one hobby retailer may be particularly interested in Toys R Us’ former stores, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Hobby Lobby especially is very aggressive,” Kimco Realty Chief Executive Conor Flynn said at a conference. In January, the hobby retailer had arrived at a store count of 800 and, in June, the retailer had seven new stores. Going forward, Hobby Lobby expects to open the doors to 60 locations this year and bring on 2,500 more employees. Beyond Hobby Lobby, Flynn said that Burlington Stores and other companies looking to expand include “traditional grocers, the larger fitness players — those really are the stores that continue to want to expand in that category.”
Months after Toys R Us announced it would liquidate its U.S.-based assets, the toy retailer planned to shutter its brick-and-mortar locations by June 29. Some locations were to close earlier, while the company’s eCommerce operations have been already closed for about three months, Fortune reported. The news came as Toys R Us has rolled out sizeable markdowns at its stores as they prepare for closures. The retailer had said in a Facebook post that discounts run from 50 percent off to 70 percent off, with some exceptions, USA Today had reported.
After failing to restructure its debt or find a buyer, Toys R Us was to either sell or shutter all of its brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S, Reuters had reported in March. The retailer had over 700 remaining locations in the U.S., including those under the Babies R Us banner. Since a leveraged buyout, Toys R Us has been burdened with over $5 billion in debt. Competition from eCommerce retailers such as Amazon and discount stores such as Walmart hasn’t helped the company either.