The Point

The Point: Toys R Us Is No More


John Stonestreet

There’s nobody left to play with the toys.

Toys R Us, one of the nation’s largest toy store chains and the gates of heaven for us kids from the ’80s and ’90s, announced this week it’s closing all 800 of its U.S. stores.

Toys R Us and Babies R Us cited a lot of different reasons for closing, including competition from online retailers like Amazon, as well as from stores like Walmart and Target.

But the chain also cited another, very dismaying reason for closing down: There just aren’t enough babies being born.

A sharp decrease in birth rates in almost all developed countries—including the U. S., which is now below replacement rate—has left stores dedicated to baby supplies and toys high and dry. Their base of small customers is just, well, too small.

So much about our future depends on having new people to replace the old. If we don’t learn to welcome babies again, our favorite toy chain closing will be the least of our problems.

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