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As shoppers hunt for a Toys “R” Us alternative, former employees get long-owed severance

As shoppers hunt for a Toys “R” Us alternative, former employees get long-owed severance
[Photo: Author Raysonho/Open Grid Scheduler/Grid Engine/Wikimedia Commons]

Yesterday, we got some rare good news. Two of the three private equity firms that saddled now-defunct retailer Toys “R” Us with debt—leading to its ultimate bankruptcy and closure—agreed to set up a $20 million severance fund for the workers who lost their jobs.

These employees have been fighting for months to get their voices heard. When the store closed up shop, every employee was left high and dry with no notice. Executives, however, were given steep bonuses as part of the bankruptcy. Now, reports CNN, the firms KKR and Bain Capital have have agreed to pay. The third private equity group, Vornado, has yet to comment on the matter.

This news comes at a time when many people likely have Toys “R” Us on their minds, given that Thanksgiving is just a day away, and Black Friday is right after that. Many shoppers have grown up going to stores like Toys “R” Us for most of their holiday shopping. This year, they’ll have to do without it.

Some interesting context comes courtesy of a new survey from Corescore Research. The firm looked at where former Toys “R” Us buyers were likely to shop, compared to all total toy buyers, and found that they generally preferred going to brick-and-mortar stores, like Walmart and Target, rather than buying on Amazon. Total toy shoppers generally preferred Amazon, but the physical stores still ranked high on their list of preferred places to buy toys. The findings aren’t terribly surprising, but they indicate how not all consumers are embracing the supposed retail apocalypse.

Overall, this holiday season is part of our slow trudge away from the retail landscape we knew 10 years ago. As the older businesses die off, many people have been left in the dust. This settlement is a reminder that workers should still fight for what they are owed–and that maybe there’s still a place for some stores, too.

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