Expert weighs in on Toys R Us stores closing, impact on CT - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Expert weighs in on Toys R Us stores closing, impact on CT

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(Toys R Us) (Toys R Us)

It’s the end of an era as Toys R Us announced it is closing its doors.

The iconic store will close or sell all its nearly 800 stores in the US, and that means roughly 33,000 jobs hang in the balance, including many here in Connecticut.

It’s not just these stores and its employees who are going to be affected, it’s some of the manufacturers, like Lego in Enfield.

“I remember going here as a child and now my kids are going here, so it’s sad to see it close,” said Eamonn Wisneski of Middletown.

It was a walk down memory lane for Eamonn Wisneski as he took his 6-year-old son Jack to Toys R Us in Newington for what could be the last time.

“He got a racing set today, various board games, game you can play with the family, they have it all,” Wisneski said.

The big box toy store confirming reports earlier this week that after 70 years, all its almost 800 stores will either be sold or close. University of Hartford professor, Dr. Farhad Rassekh, said it’s another sign online shopping is taking over.

“Toys R Us, along with some other stores, are in a way the victim of that changing technology,” Rassekh said.

While the nostalgia of the place where ‘a kid could be a kid’ is extinguished by the competition, the nationwide closing is going to have an immediate impact in Connecticut.

Enfield is home to Lego’s North American headquarters and losing a big customer like Toys R Us isn’t good at a time when the building block company just posted a decline in sale for the first time in 13 years.

“There will be a short term impact when a big customer suddenly disappears, but it doesn’t have to have a long impact,” Rassekh said.

Rassekh said the Lego fan base should eventually gravitate toward the retailers that still offer them, but in the short-term, he said local workers may be in for a rough time. Recently, employment at the Enfield location already dropped by 157 workers.

“There is cause for concern, yes,” Rassekh said.

The announcement was made on Wednesday that the stores will close, but there was no firm date give. Employees at Toys R Us stores told Eyewitness News that stores should remain open until April, but this a very fluid situation, so customers should use gift cards as soon as possible.

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