Charles Phillip Lazarus, founder of Toys “R” Us passed away on March 22 due to respiratory failure. He was 94. The news comes right after the global toy seller announced that it will start liquidating its stores in the US, which would mean about 30,000 of its employees losing jobs. The company had filed for bankruptcy in September last year with over 1,600 Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores in 38 countries.
The company was founded 70 years ago by Lazarus and its first outlet opened in Maryland in 1957.
He had refurbished his father’s shop to a baby furniture store, which finally took shape as a toy superstore. It was back in 1966, with his four Washington-area stores totalling $12 million in annual sales that Lazarus sold the company to Interstate Stores for $7.5 million in cash, while remaining the head of Interstate’s toy division. Over the next eight years, he opened 43 new outlets. However since Interstate was not faring well, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 1974. Lazarus became the CEO when it emerged in 1978 as Toys “R” Us Inc, a public company before Bain Capital, KKR & Co and Vornado Realty Trust conducted a leveraged buyout of the company.
Lazarus stepped down as chief executive officer in 1994, passing on the reins to Micheal Goldstein. Four years later, Lazarus, resigned as the company’s chairman as well.
By Ananya Saha