The founder of Toys R Us has died at the age of 94, the company has confirmed.
Toy titan Charles P. Lazarus, founded the company in 1957, building the first “supermarket for toys”.
The American entrepreneur served in World War II as as cryptologist and when he returned to Washington D.C. he decided to found a ‘small business’ like his father who ran a bike shop.
There he noticed a growing demand for toys and set up his innovative toy store just as the baby boom hit.
He set up a business in baby furniture in the basement of his dad’s shop and there he noticed a growing demand for toys.
So he changed his business to focus on toys and developed his innovative mass-market model just as the baby boom hit.
Like retail titans today, Lazarus used technology to tighten control of his merchandise – and ultimately boost sales.
He established a computerized inventory system so he could easily track what products were being sold and what needed restocking.
As his business quickly grew, he offered toy manufacturers access to a buoyant market for toy sales 12 months of the year.
And this gave him leverage to dictate prices and demand concessions and exclusives from toy manufacturers to further strengthen his own brand and its bottom line.
But despite its early industry-disrupting start and global growth, the company went bust this year.
The British arm collapsed into administration on February 28 and days later on March 15, ToysRUs officially announced plans to shut down its operations in the U.S too.
While ToysRUs had once been the industry innovator, it was squeezed out of existence this year by pressure from online retailers and new business models.
But Lazarus had stepped down as chief executive officer in 1994 – long before the toy titan crumbled.
A spokesperson for the company told the Mirror Online: “There have been many sad moments for Toys“R”Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus.
“He visited us in New Jersey just last year and we will forever be grateful for his positive energy, passion for the customer and love for children everywhere. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones.”