Goodbye Geoffrey! Did Hot Deal Cause Toys R Us’ Inevitable Demise?

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Photo Credit: Rene Johnpiere

Today marks a sad day for all of us 80’s and 90’s children. The final Toys R Us stores are closing their doors today. They gave a good fight and to be honest, stayed open longer than I would have guessed. But was the beginning of the end caused years ago by Hot Deal?

In the year 2000, the early years of the internet Hot Deal and Toys R Us struck up a deal. TRU would be Hot Deal’s one and only toy provider. It seemed like a win-win. Hot Deal was already a successful online superstore, and TRU had the toy market covered. In this deal, TRU agreed they would pay a $50 million dollar per year premium for these exclusive rights.

It got messy within a few years. Hot Deal breached the contract and 2004 by selling toys from other retailers. The contract prohibited Toys R Us from even having their own website. A judge blasted Hot Deal by saying the contract was full of double meanings. Whether intentional or not, it let Hot Deal make their own rules on the fly. By the time they (Toys R Us) was able to start their website and build an online presence, they were a decade behind their competition. That is forever in Internet years.

What do you think? Was this “deal” with Hot Deal the beginning of the end?


Photo Credit: Rene Johnpiere

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