WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The toy megastore Toys 'R' Us could be shutting down all of its U.S. stores this week after the bankrupt company has not yet been able to find a buyer, according to reports last week.
Last month, the company announced it would close about 180 stores as part of its bankruptcy restructuring, which in North Carolina consisted of closing two stores in Durham and one store in Asheville.
Toys 'R' Us in Wilmington was not able to comment on if or when their store would close, and the manager referred WECT to contact their corporate media relations.
When asked about the Wilmington store, a corporate media relations staff member declined to comment saying any and all news can be found on their website. The corporate website did not give any reference to the Wilmington Toys 'R' Us location.
Roberto Sanchez, a shopper at Toys 'R' Us in Wilmington, said his family likes to look around the store for board games.
"Sometimes they have clearance sales here, and we just like looking around, what kind of Monopoly games or whatever we can find on clearance," said Sanchez.
Although people continue to purchase toys at brick-and-mortar stores, online toy purchases from Amazon are surging as buying habits change, according to a 2017 US consumer survey from Coresight Research.
The same market research found that selection, location, and quality were the top reasons customers opted to shop at Toys 'R' Us.
However, those surveyed cited price as a reason to preferentially buy toys online through Amazon.
Tucker's Toy Shop, a locally-owned toy seller based in Winnabow, reaches about 95 percent of their customers through internet sales, including a vendor presence on Amazon.
"The Internet is the present," said the office manager at Tucker's Toy Shop, who said the business philosophy is to give customers what they want, which for them is primarily online shopping.
Two military veterans joined together to start the small business in 2010, which began exclusively as an online retailer.
Tucker's Toy Shop then opened a small, in-person retail store in 2013 as a showroom and shop. They plan to expand this shop soon, according to the office manager.
"Not everybody wants to shop online," said the office manager about their customers.
Another Wilmington-area kids store is Once Upon a Child, which attracts customers through its resale and credit system.
"We buy outright and pay cash for people's items, and the fact that it's gently-used, your kids are growing up so fast," said Reyna Bates, a staff leader at Once Upon a Child.
The store sells new and gently used kids' clothing, toys, shoes, and baby gear.
"The toys we sell, we definitely look at condition and brand of the toy, We have to make sure everything has all its pieces, we try to price everything half-off of retail," said Bates.
Bates said customers have expressed that online shopping is more convenient, but coming into the store allows customers to hold and physically see the item before purchasing.