Hundreds of Toys R’ Us stores closed in the United States in 2018, one of the most high-profile casualties of the so-called "retail apocalypse." Now the question is which retailers will replace all those empty stores left behind by the once iconic toy chain.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Hobby Lobby is a big player in the game. Burlington Stores Inc. and TJX Co., which owns stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, are also among the retailers expected to take over those empty stores.
In North Carolina, Toys R’ Us stores closed locations in 15 cities in 2018:
Cary Raleigh Fayetteville Smithfield Greensboro Winston-Salem Concord Jacksonville Wilmington Charlotte Pineville Gastonia Hickory Greenville Asheville
Conor Flynn, CEO of Kimco Realty Corporation, said at a consumer conference in June that many of the larger big-box storefronts will be taken up by Hobby Lobby, according to the Journal. Kimco has interests in about 475 shopping centers.
According to the Journal, Flynn said off-price retailers, fitness centers and specialty grocers are likely to go after the Toys R’ Us stores that are about 35,000 square feet each. The smaller stores, that are 20,000-25,000 square feet, are more suited for retailers like TJ Maxx and Marshalls, Flynn said, per the Journal.
In 2018, the number of announced U.S. store closures stands at 4,146, according to Fung Global, which tracks store opening and closures in the U.S. The number of announced store openings in the U.S. is 2,042. In the latest store closure news, Sears said it would close 10 more stores with liquidation sales expected to begin as early as July 13, according to Fung Global.
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Patch Editor Feroze Dhanoa contributed.
Who would you like to see replace the empty Toys R’ Us stores in North Carolina?
Photo by Autumn Johnson, Patch staff