As previously reported, stores were instructed to return their walkaround Geoffrey the Giraffe costumes last month, though no definitive reason was given. Many thought it was in response to a suit that was being sold on eBay, though other costumes had already been sold to members of the public during the liquidation process. There has been speculation that these costumes were being sent back to be destroyed - something that picked up steam after an image of a Geoffrey costume in a dumpster behind TRU HQ began making the rounds...
While there's no emotion on the business end of this liquidation, those involved are certainly making an attempt to lure shoppers by playing the nostalgia angle. Yesterday I received a press release sent on behalf of the liquidation firms (Great American Group, Tiger Capital Group, Gordon Brothers and Hilco Merchant Resources) who are adding insult to injury by inviting customers to come take a picture with a picture of Geoffrey.
From the press release: "Beginning Friday, May 11th stores across the United States are giving loyal shoppers the opportunity to commemorate their final Toys 'R' Us moments with a selfie banner featuring the retailer's iconic mascot Geoffrey. "Toys 'R' Us has been a renowned household name over the years and providing loyal customers the opportunity to commemorate their final moments is a great way to keep the memory of Toys 'R' Us alive. We encourage everyone to capture and share their final experiences on Toys 'R' Us' social media channels using the hashtag #alwaysatrukid"
So the stores were asked to send back their actual Geoffrey costumes, but now money was just spent printing "selfie banners" for a celebration of "final moments?" What a bizarre corporate funeral this has become. But hey, they're now hyping up "discounts of up to 30-50%" on $2B worth of inventory, much of which was never paid for in the first place.
Bonus Fun Facts: While workers march on Washington in hopes of gaining a severance that they'll never see, these are the names of the five executive officers who took retention bonuses on the eve of the Toys "R" Us bankruptcy. Approved by the TRU Board of Directors (a crew consisting of reps from Bain Capital, KKR and Vornado Realty Trust), these bonuses were revealed in a 10-Q filed in September 2017, and paid just five days prior to the bankruptcy filing. Their names were withheld in TRU court filings, but were uncovered in an objection filed by a U.S. Trustee.
- David A. Brandon, CEO ($2,812,500)
- Michael J. Short, CFO ($600,000)
- Richard Barry, Executive Vice President – Global Chief Merchandising Officer ($450,000)
- Lance Wills, Executive Vice President – Global Chief Technology Officer ($412,500)
- Andre Javes, President – Toys “R” Us, Asia Pacific ($325,125 based on the conversion rate on the date of payment)
While thousands will suffer as a result of actions for which they were not responsible, don't worry about this group - they'll be just fine.
It should also be noted that Brandon is still Chairman of Domino's Pizza, though if Domino's is smart, they'll find a way to remove him from that position before he starts making plans to head back to Michigan (where his name is dirt already) when the dust starts to settle in New Jersey. 33,000 people could eat a lot of pizza, and social rumblings have been pointing toward a post-TRU boycott of the pizza maker should Brandon remain in place. Personally, I don't see Brandon's removal happening in that case, and I certainly don't want to see more lower level workers become collateral damage at another company should such an attack materialize - but thousands of former Toys "R" Us employees taking their pizza business elsewhere could be quite damaging, at least in the short-term. I do believe that Brandon should be seriously considering retirement if he hasn't already. It's time to hang it up, Dave.
New Here? Related Stories that You Need to Read:
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- Toys "R" Us Has a Stalking Horse Bidder for Canada as US Wind-Down Continues
- It's Official: Isaac Larian Has Submitted His Bid to Purchase Toys "R" Us, plus other updates from Geoffrey's House...
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Top Photo Credit: @MakeTheRoadNY via Twitter