Welcome to Conversational Commerce, the podcast where we break down the biggest retail news and trends with executives, thought leaders and the Retail Dive team. Check out more episodes here and follow us on iTunes or Stitcher.
They say good comedy is all about timing.
On the very morning that we launched the debut episode of Conversational Commerce looking at why this year has seen so many retail bankruptcies, major big-box toy retailer Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This wasn't just any bankruptcy filing — it was the third largest by revenue in retail history after only Kmart and Federated Department Stores.
With an over $5 billion debt load and 40% of its vendors pulling back ahead of the holidays, the iconic toy seller — the last of its kind left standing — recently came to an agreement with creditors to float through the holidays with $3 billion in financial support. In order to make it out of bankruptcy, the retailer will likely need to shed debt and its most unprofitable stores. But that may not all it will take to get shoppers back into its stores.
On the latest episode of Conversational Commerce, I caught up with Reporter Ben Unglesbee to break down how Toys R Us got to this point, what their odds of surviving Chapter 11 are, and what this all means for the toy retail market and Toys R Us' competitors.