The founder of Toys R Us passed away on Thursday.
Charles Lazarus, who founded Toys R Us 70 years ago, died on Thursday, one week after the announcement that the US retailer would be closing down. The toy industry giant was CEO of the company until 1994, but by the time of its bankruptcy no longer held a stake in the business.
Michael Goldstein, the CEO who followed Lazarus, spoke to CNN. “He was the father of the toy business. He knew the toys and loved the toys and loved the kids who would shop in the stores. His face lit up when he watched kids playing with toys.”
“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,” Toys R Us said in a statement. “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.”
The first Toys R Us store opened in 1957, based on a supermarket from the beginning – with products packed high onto long aisles. In 1978, the chain went public, leading to constant growth until the company was worth $11 billion in the early 1990s.
Toys R Us stores in the USA and UK are in the process of closing down, with a possible rescue package being negotiated for the Canadian arm of the business.