KB Toys to Close 156 Stores – Closeout Sale Begins 11/8

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KB Toys which just emerged from bankrupty has decided to close another 156 stores (up from an original 30). The original Washington Post story only covers the store closings in the DC/VA area and other reports on which other stores around the country are trickling in.

The managers and ex-managers tell sad & mad stories on PLAYTHINGS, an industry trade publication and website.

Here is a partial list of the @50 of the stores closing (And thanks to a former store employee who pointed the store locator weblink (at the end of this post) now lists “Black Friday” opening hours AND which stores are definitely closing):

Arizona
Alma Elliot Square – Chandler

California
Buena Park Mall – Buena Park
Laguna Crossroads – Elk Grove
Great Mall of the Bay Area – Milpitas
Shopping@The Rose – Oxnard
Mountain Square – Upland

Connecticut
Route#25 – Newtown
Connecticut Commons – Plainville
The Dock – Stratford
Torrington Downtown S/C – Torrington

Georgia
Lakeshore Mall – Gainesville

Indiana
Outlet Shops at Fremont
Highland Town Center – Highland

Maine
Auburn Mall – Auburn
Cooks Corner Shopping Center – Brunswick

Michigan
Genesee Valley Mall – Flint
Sears Lincoln Park S/C – Lincoln Park
Westland Mall – Westland

Massachusetts
North River Plaza – Pembroke
Shops@5 – Plymouth
Redstone Shopping Center – Stoneham
Perkins Farm Plaza – Worcester

Maryland
Montgomery Mall – Bethesda
Bowie Town Center – Bowie
Prince Georges Plaza – Hyattsville
City Place Mall – Silver Spring

Nebraska
Nebraska Crossing – Gretna

New Hampshire
Keene Shopping Center – Keene

New Jersey
Cross Keys Common – Turnersville
East Broad Street Center – Westfield

Nevada
Eastern Beltway Center – Las Vegas

New York
Arcadian Shopping Center – Ossining
Culver Ridge S/C – Rochester

Ohio
Easton Marketplace – Columbus
Dayton Mall – Dayton
River Valley Mall – Lancaster
Ohio Valley Mall – St. Clairsville

Pennsylvania
Bethlehem Square – Bethlehem
Colonial Park Mall – Harrisburg
Mayfair S/C – Philadelphia
Washington Crowne Center – Washington

Puerto Rico
Western Plaza – Mayaguex
Centro Del Sur – Ponce
Plaza Caribe Mall – Vega Alta

Rhode Island
Garden City Shopping Center – Cranston

Texas
Almeda Mall – Houston

Virginia
Dominion Square – Culpeper
Dulles Town Center – Dulles
Fair Oaks Mall – Fairfax
Spotsylvania Mall – Fredericksburg
Manassas Mall – Manassas
Hanover Square – Mechanicsville
Indian River Shopping Center – Virgina Beach

West Virginia
Morgantown Mall – Morgantown

STORE LOCATOR for “Black Friday” open hours and which stores definitely closing.

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22 Comments

Filed under Advertising, Financial, Religion, Toys

22 responses to “KB Toys to Close 156 Stores – Closeout Sale Begins 11/8

  1. A few of my favorite childhood memories were in K-B Toys! As a young adult, it’s sad to see an era gone by– the not-that-old-fashioned joy of toy store visits seems to be becoming obsolete. It’s too bad that high-tech gadgets purchased at Best Buy are now nearly necessary to put a smile on a child’s face. What about Christmas gifts a parent can understand and be proud, not pressured, to give?

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  3. FormerKBEmployee

    I have to say that the executives at KB continue to make mistakes. I worked there for over 4 years from 2000-2004 and had to close several stores. The new “VALUE TOY” strategy did not work before, so it is improbable that it will work this time. It seemed like their remodel program was working in the stores, but I guess they didn’t care or didn’t have the money to continue. I am sad to say I doubt the company will be around in 2 years. If you want to get a good idea of what stores are closing you can go to: http://locator.mykbtoysstore.com/StoreLocator.htm Click on your state and if your local store is not going to open early (as the site indicates) on the day after thanksgiving, then it is probably closing.

    (METROXING: Yea, you’re right and your insight on the store opening seems spot on – I’ll add it to the top in case anyone misses it – thanks!)

  4. FormerKBEmployee

    The website now confirms what stores are closing under the store locator.

    (METROXING: Thanks for the update).

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  6. Lynne

    I shopped at KB for nearly all my (now grown) children’s toys. I have a 3-year-old also, and bought/ buy much of his stuff there. KB was the first place I’d go when I needed toys. The dollar stores sell only poor-quality stuff, and department stores like Walmart don’t have that much, IMO. I am so sad about this!

  7. KBSlave

    I worked for KB for 8 years. Each year they have the same sales. The always make the same mistakes time and time again. The sales usually brings the price down to a normal price point. The “Value Toy” – it is marked down one to two cents to make it a value. Not only does the company try to trick the customer but they mistreat the employees. I’ve never worked so many hours without pay. Also, to make an employee work alone in a retail store day and night with no break is not only unfair but it is unsafe!

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  9. Noel

    I was in a KB toys in the south Chicago suburbs and they still had some desert cards tucked behind all the common Supercharged cars. They also had a Mr / Mrs the King MM but they put the pricing stickers right on the front of the cards, and they don’t like to come off. KB is hugely popular, what did they do wrong?

    (METROXING: Well, 50% of their problems are caused by WM’s ability to get exculsives & pricing – they are also locked into smaller mall stores and of course, there’s the internet. Plus the toy industry has shifted to more expensive electronics toys so if you guess wrong – it’s a tough business to begin with and then when you have odds against it. It’s hard to see how they can really re-invent themselves …).

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  12. James Jensen

    Wow! I am so sorry to read these stories of KB Toys. I worked in the Oregon, Washington, Montana and California districts. I never had the problems that I hear about now. I loved my job and I still love the company. I just couldn’t make it past store manager as I was always competing against people with college degrees for a DSM position–so I went back to school to get my degree and now the company is having all these issues. I was an assistant manager when the current president was the Director of Merchandising .. this was back when it was Kay-Bee Toy and Hobbies. My how time flies. To everyone still with the company… just do your best and remain focused on making your daily sales plan. Don’t worry about the negativity or whoever is breathing down your neck. Get your team together and make a plan to get through it. I remember when a VP named Tony Polino actually threw one of my displays- (quad-peg) for any of you old farts who remember, out into the mall. Talk about stress! We got through it. Don’t give up and do your best to support your store associates. The bottom line is sales. It’s a hard balance to keep but it can be done. Everyone has to know their job and what part they play as the team in your stores. Your people may not feel pumped up but you have to get them there–somehow– that’s the hardest part of being the manager or leader. When your DSM calls or arrives at your store just smile, carry a a small note book to make notes and carry on. Christmas is coming up and this will be a good point to clear out some space in your stores. Pump up your associates the best you can. WORKING AT KB TOYS CAN BE FUN… I’VE BEEN THERE. It takes hard work and dedication but it can be done. Just make sure all your operational requirements are being met per policy and make sure you always have a storefront/lease line that looks good and is full with what your selling and everything else will work itself out. REMEMBER…. from Friday 5pm to Sunday close is selling time. All your efforts go into selling and keeping what you have displayed full and signed. Everything must support the sales. I have seen associates digging through defective in stockroom during prime selling time. Get everyone out on the floor and remember to work with a “heads up” attitude. YOU CAN DO IT!!!

  13. K. (Former KB ASM/SM)

    I worked for KB Toys for a few years as an ASM and SM. My first store closed back in January 2005 but I was one of the lucky few that got transfered to another store. I worked at a few stores around my district (including saving #222 Stratford Square from being closed down in 2005) until I was let go by my DSM in 2006. It was my favorite job and the pay was ok. I was paid more than what many other retailers have offered me for equivalent positions. One of my former stores, #173 Hawthorn in Vernon Hills, IL, is now closing. I find that very upsetting because I had a real connection with that store and crew. I worked hard at that store to improve it sales-wise and sales did improve alot, but now, it’s just going to be shut down. It was never really a store that was in consideration to be closed in the past. The store was constantly visited by home office people that came to Chicago. It’s a store that has alot of potential, especially being in Westfield Hawthorn in Vernon Hills which is a pretty upscale shopping mall with a main customer base of Chicago area lake-side people with money. The store is also in a prime location at the mall being right at the food court which made it a hot spot for families on the weekends. The store maintained a great ADT and UPT and beat LY much of the time I was there. Although, I heard more recently KB has been coming up with some unrealistic PLAN sales numbers for that store. When it was still my store, it was one of those very old KB stores with the filthy blue carpeting with a layer of even older red carpeting under it, crappy old gondola shelves made out of pegboard and rusty metal that were a pain to deal with, a red checkout counter that ran a mile long, and those large heavy blue wooden shelves on those thin metal brackets that I didn’t trust at all because they keep falling down. The aisles were very narrow and crammed. Alot of those yuppy stroller moms with money couldn’t shop it because they couldn’t get their stroller around in the store. The mall itself has more recently been remodeled along with just about all its stores except for KB Toys which was the oldest looking and darkest store in the mall. The store finally got its long overdue remodel last year in April of 2006. By that time, it was no longer my store but I helped them out during their remodel. The store was practically gutted (filled 6 large construction dumpsters full) and got brand new Lozier gondola shelving, a new smaller cleaner white checkout/impulse counter, new fake wood flooring, new ceiling tiles, new track lighting, much wider aisles that can fit yuppy mom baby strollers, new “towers” and display tables that replaced the already new grids I just ordered back in 2005, all those new colorful wall and valance graphics, etc. making it the brightest and coolest looking store in the mall. Luckily, I saved the grids from being trashed. They make great garage storage. Anyways, I was told the cost of this remodel came close to $300,000. That’s not including the cost of the store facade/entrance/sign which was already remodeled/changed a couple years back when the store itself was cut in size to squeeze in a U.S. Cellular store next door. They also just signed another 5 year lease for the store last year right before their remodel. I just can’t believe that they would spend that much for a complete renovation, renew their lease for that length, and then all of a sudden decide to shut down that store. It makes no sense and makes me wonder what the heck these people are thinking. All that money spent on that store is now going to end up with Gordon Brothers (the liquidation company) selling the new shelving at the end for $10 per 4 foot section, GB keeping their 80%, and KB Toys only getting $2 per 4 foot section. Nobody pays the liquidator’s high fixture prices ($80 per 4 foot section) so everyone waits until the end where they can offer $100 (KB only gets $20) for all the fixturing in the store and it’s sold for that price just so the store can be emptied out. KB is also probably going to end up paying some hefty penalty for breaking out of their lease early. The only real reason I can think of for that store closing is its size. It’s a small store for its volume and it has a very low ceiling. The very top of the new 8 foot gondolas are only 20 inches from the ceiling not permitting for any topstock by fire code. The promo area in the front is litterally only 4 4-foot sections deep (16 feet). The front area gets crammed pretty bad because there isn’t room for all that month’s promo/seasonal merchandise. It’s a 3 gondola run (4 aisle) store with each gondola having 6 4-foot sections and the check-out/impulse counter running parallel with the gondolas in the far left aisle. For the format KB is going back to now, “Stack it high! Watch it fly!”, constantly being filled with bulk/piles of toys, they might feel this store might be too much of a hazard. When KB had this format in the past, the store had a larger front area before it was chopped a few years ago to squeeze another store next door. Who knows.. However, if it’s sales they are looking for, this store has it.

  14. David Austin Smith

    I am a past associate of KB Toys. I started with Circus World in the Columbia Mall in Columbia MO. When Kay-Bee Toys bought Circus World it was the best thing to happen to Circus World. I really enjoyed working with KB Toys and spent a lot of my retail career with them. I progressed thru the ranks from ASM to SM to TSM to DSM. I ran stores in the Columbia Mall and the Westroads Mall in Omaha. I ran Districts in NE/IA/SD and MO/IL. I was there for the good times and for the bankruptcy of KB Toys. I know the company is going through some tough times, hang in there guys, KB Toys is a good company and I miss working there still…

  15. James Jensen- Former KB MGR

    The holidays are done and over- now is the time to sell clearance and hand-held electrical games, puzzles, books, etc. When I was a manager we would take January and physically clean every shelf and display. We would get caught up on our defectives and rewraps. By February 1 we were ready to prep for inventory, and were looking forward to plan-o-gram changes and pulling out the seasonal pack-away. This time of year is the best time. Business slows a little and the store staff can get their stores back to looking neat and clean.

    Worrying about what the company officials do won’t make any difference except to make the store associates miserable. Focus on what is really important- how neat, clean and presentable the stores are. Defect all the old shop worn demos and break out new exciting demos, replace any defective lighting in your storefront ceilings and aisles. Have everyone walk around with “peg-repair tabs” in order to get the broken packages up off the baseboard shelving.

    January can be a fun time at KB Toys- time to clean up from the old year and get the store in shape for a new profitable year.

    KEEP SMILING KB!! You can do it!!!!

  16. Seems like a difficult space to be in with so many cheap products coming from China through alternative distribution channels. The Internet seems to be a major factor in the KB bankruptcy as well.

  17. MarkUK

    Ramones House of Body Art is widely available from Woolworths in the UK. You could try their website. http://www.woolworths.co.uk

    If you really get stuck, perhaps we can trade. I can be messaged over at carsthetoys.com. My username is sump oil.

  18. MarkUK

    Oops that should have gone on another topic. Sorry.

  19. I used to work at KB Toys for over 3 years as retail clerk. I loved the toys, the kids and whole atmosphere. This is where I started my work career, by working full time with them.
    Now I have moved working elsewhere, but I miss them. Working at KB I learned a lot which I now apply to my current job. I have strong attachment with KB. Hang in there KB. You are one great company to me.

  20. Jim Lundberg, San Diego, CA

    My game 3D5 was bought by KB, but they owe my manufacturer about 8K, so that was a big chunk of change that could have killed the game, but if you look up “3D5 Game” you will see that it thankfully did survive the KB Toys bankruptcy.

    (MET: Good luck – yea, it’s always the smaller companies that get hurt …).

  21. KB was always my favorite toy store as a kid. I hope it hangs around, I still like going in the mall and looking around inside.

  22. oldguy1986

    Ok, do you all remember when K B Toys was called Kay & Bee Toys? The carpets were bright blue and red rather than the clean, sleek look of today. I started my working career in Kay & Bee Toys back in the Fall of 1986 as seasonal help. I got rehired in the Spring as Easter help and remained there until 1992 being promoted to assistant manager. Shortly after being hired as an assistant manager the starting salaries were reduced for that position. My “raises” were always nickels and dimes at best, and suddenly I wore a target on back. My performance was picked apart and I was quickly eliminated to make room for a lower paid employee. I haven’t held that franchise in very high regard since. They were slave drivers during the holidays, and in my humble opinion did little for the staff and management. Frankly, I’m surprised they lasted this long.

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