As the economy struggled in its continuing bid at recovery, Toys “R” Us took a lot of the brunt as sales plummeted in 2013. The giant toy store chain reported a net loss of $210 million during the fourth quarter of 2013 and a total loss of $1 billion for the year. The losses were blamed on fierce competition from on-line sellers such as Amazon, and discount department stores like Wal-Mart.
Earnings for 2012 totaled $239 million, accentuating the challenges of last year’s marketplace.
The private held retailer posted a decrease in same-store sales of 4.1 percent in the US and 2.2 percent internationally during the fourth quarter of 2013. Those figures are an important indicator of a retailer’s overall health, and they included the crucial holiday season.
“It was a challenging year, with declines in both our domestic and international segments,” CEO Antonio Urcelay said in a statement to investors.
“The U.S. business experienced the more significant downturn, primarily due to a decrease in net sales, margin pressure and one-time items, including the write-down of excess and obsolete inventory as we take the necessary and prudent steps to improve the business.”
Toys “R” Us did have a good year in China, however. As the Chinese economy continues to expand and more people are climbing the affluence ladder, there is more disposable income available to spend on children’s playthings.
So far this year things are looking up a bit for Toys “R” Us here at home. So far there has been a 3.5 percent increase in same-store sales in the US due to an increase in entertainment related toys connected to beloved movie franchises. Net sales for all of 2013 totaled $12.5 billion. That is $1 billion less, or 7.4 percent, from 2012.