Charles Lazarus was only 25 when he decided to live his dream of creating a child-oriented business. He was only 35 when he decided to adopt the supermarket model for his store, allowing customers to examine and pick out products on their own and pay for them at a checkout stand. When he opened his second store, he again made waves by settling on the name Toys “R” Us and turning the “R” backward.





  • Headquarters: Wayne, NJ
  • Founding year: 1948
  • Number of locations as of January 2011: 1,600, including Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us
  • Brands: Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, FAO Schwarz
  • 2010 net sales: $6 billion, a 2% increase compared to the prior year

It’s been said that although parents and teachers complained about the grammatical incorrectness of the name, Lazarus knew it would attract attention and didn’t give in to pressures to change. And it’s a good thing he didn’t. Since expanding on the “R” Us franchise by developing Babies “R” Us in 1996, which is the leading baby products specialty retailer in the US, the company has continued to soar, watching competitors fall by the wayside while its express stores and e-commerce platforms have grown.

“Throughout [2010], we made important investments in our future, including the expansion of our e-commerce presence in international markets, increased levels of service in our stores, and the opening of a sourcing office in Shenzhen, China, which will further enable us to differentiate our product assortment,” said Jerry Storch, chairman and CEO. “Great progress was also made in the continued integration of our toy and juvenile businesses under one roof through existing store remodels and new store openings on a global basis.”

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