December 2015 marks the end of another iconic toy store in New York, as Toys R Us is due to close its door at the end of December, after its parent company decided not to renew its lease due to the escalating rent being charged. The company has announced that it is its intention to relocate to somewhere (hopefully) near by within the Times Square precinct, but as of yet nothing has been announced.
It has been a dramatic year for toy stores in New York. Earlier this year it was announced that F.A.O. Schwarz closed the door on its iconic 5th Avenue Store, adjacent to Central Park and opposite the Plaza Hotel. Both F.A.O. Schwarz and Toys R Us are owned by the same company so it seems that the rise in online shopping is taking a heavy toll on the companies bottom line, and with the ever increasing rent being sought by Times Square landlords the company has decided opted to vote with their feet.
Toys R Us has been a family favourite for many years in Times Square. Offering kids the chance to explore the vast wonderland of toys and oversized displays that include a 20-foot high Tyrannosaurus-Rex, a life-size Barbie Doll and a fully operational in-door ferris wheel that often gave parents a slight reprieve from the endless questions of what toys their children could buy.
Australians travelling to New York will have a final chance to spend their hard earned money in the iconic location up until the end of December when the doors will be shut for the final time. It is not all bad news for the retail minded traveller, as it has been announced that GAP will be moving their flagship store, currently located between 41st St and 42nd St on Broadway, up to take the place of Toys R Us and are expected to open early in 2016. In addition to opening a flagship store for its GAP brand, the company also stated that they would also be opening a flagship store for Old Navy and splitting the current space occupied by Toys R Us into two stores.
On a personal note I am not sure how I am going to break the news to my kids. It is a bit of a rule that it is the last stop of my list of places to visit before jumping in a car or onto the Long Island Rail Road for my journey back out to JFK for my flight home. It has always been a great place to get some presents for the kids and neices and nephews. I certainly hope that Macy’s picks up their game in the kids section or Toys R Us quickly secure a new premesis in Midtown to save me from returning home empty handed.