Toys ''R'' Us shuts down its flagship Times Square location as rent costs soar and consumers shift to online shopping. Shartia Brantley reports.
Toys "R" Us' flagship Times Square store has been a must do destination for many tourists, but that ends today after the retailer chose not to renew its lease for 2016. (SOUNDBITE) CUSTOMER VALERIE FROM MASSACHUSETTS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think, it is unfortunate. We love to come here every time we come to the city. We have driven here several times just to take our kids to the biggest toy store in the country. It's always a memorable time, and, so, we made the trip from Massachusetts this morning, left at 4:30 just to get here, and celebrate the last day with them." (REPORTER'S BRIDGE) SHARTIA BRANTLEY, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Toys "R" Us has been located in Times Square since 2001. Its ferris wheel and other attractions were a big draw, but the changing toy retail landscape made escalating rent prices tougher to bear." It joins FAO Schwarz, which recently shuttered its midtown location earlier this year. Retail analyst Mary Epner says we can expect to see more retailers do the same. (SOUNDBITE) MARY EPNER, PRINCIPAL, MARY EPNER RETAIL ANALYSIS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think, if they don't have differentiated product, then, yes, I expect to see it. If you are just competing on price, then that means you need to sell more in order to make up for that higher rent and higher minimum wages. So, for example, since the end of 2008 the Times Square rent is up 2.5 times for retail space." This comes as the consumer shift to e-commerce sites, such as Amazon, continues to grow. Toys "R" Us said it is searching for another midtown Manhattan location.