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Report: Amazon in talks to buy some Toys R Us stores

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Theo Thimou, Clark.com

After announcing the liquidation of more than 700 stores, Toys R Us has been the recipient of several potential lifelines from investors and creditors trying to keep at least some of the iconic toy retailer’s doors open.

The latest possibility to emerge is that Amazon could step in to save the day at select locations.

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Will Amazon expand its retail footprint in the wake of Toys R Us failure?

Bloomberg reports Amazon is in private talks with Toys R Us about about acquiring some locations from the bankrupt and failed retailer.

If this deal materializes, it would come as the e-commerce giant’s second major push into the physical space. Last year, Amazon purchased Whole Foods and its more than 450 locations in a deal valued at nearly $14 billion.

The Seattle-based e-tailer is also dipping its toe into other brick-and-mortar endeavors, like its cashier-less Go grocery stores and standalone physical bookstores.

However, don’t get too excited about visions of Toys R Us stores for generations to come. Sources tell Bloomberg that if Amazon winds up acquiring some Toys R Us, it won’t prop up the toy retailer’s brand.

Rather, Amazon could potentially use the retail space as a showroom for its Echo devices. That would be a big bet on voice, which many tech thinkers believe will replace touch screens and mouses as the next dominant interface in the world of computing.

The Toys R Us retail footprint would also have a second benefit for Amazon. It would allow the Prime purveyor to station its inventory in more of the neighborhoods where it customers live, thereby shortening delivery times to e-commerce customers.

We should note, however, that Amazon entered into similar talks about acquiring stores from RadioShack in 2015 when the electronics retailer went belly up. Those talks did not result in any acquisitions.

Meanwhile, other potential suitors abound. Last week, MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian posted on LinkedIn about his behind-the-scenes efforts to save Toys R Us.

“I am just going to get a bunch of investors (including myself) together and try to save as much of Toys R Us as possible and hire a great guy or gal to run it independently,” Larian wrote. “We need to do this for our kids and grandkids.”

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