Another independent toy retailer is closing store doors on Long Island.
Last month I reported that Justin’s Toys in Glen Cove was calling it quits.
Now Matty’s Toy Stop will shutter another one of its locations, this time in Merrick, according to a Jan. 7 Facebook post and signs in the store windows at 2138 Merrick Mall.
Matty’s has four locations on Long Island, including stores in Hewlett, Rockville Centre and Floral Park.
In 2009, Newsday reported that Jim McQuade had started Matty’s Toy Stop with a couple of small booths in 1988 and, 21 years later, had eight locations.
The toy retailer’s locations that have closed over the years include a Manhasset store that went dark in the spring.
Matty's did not respond to requests for comment, so it’s unclear when or why the Merrick location will close.
But we do know the struggle has been real for many independent toy stores, despite losing some competition after Toys R Us’ demise last summer.
As is often the case in retail these days, a lot of the blame for toy store woes is being placed at the feet of big-box chains, whose economies of scale allow them to sell more items for less money, and competition from Amazon and other online retailers.
Another factor might be surprising: Kids’ growing use of cellphones to play digital games is helping to spur the decline at toy stores too, according to IBISWorld Inc., a market research firm in Los Angeles.
A survey of 4,646 adult parents with children 6 to 12 years old showed that 45 percent of the kids 10 to 12 years old had cellphones in 2016, according to Manhattan data analytics company Nielsen. Of all children who had cellphones, 53 percent used them to play pre-installed games.
As for Matty’s Merrick store, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, which is based in Manhattan and has offices on Long Island, is marketing the 4,375-square-foot space online for leasing, but declined to comment on the closing.
Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at email@example.com.