Imaginarium, the famous toy store that went into liquidation this summer, today definitively closes its last location in Zaragoza, the city where it was born three decades ago. A sad goodbye for a business that once had 800 workers and 426 stores in 20 countries on three continents, but which economic crises and poor management have turned into a broken toy of the sector.
Inside the premises, the pace yesterday was frenetic. With discounts of up to 50% and all its stock on sale, dozens of citizens came to get their hands on the last stock.
Even so, the news did not catch anyone by surprise. Long gone are the years of splendor of a company that emerged on the initiative of Félix Tena from Zaragoza thanks to his new concepts about educational toys. In 1992 he opened his first Imaginarium store in Zaragoza, which was a great success with initiatives such as its two doors – for adults and for children –, a hallmark of the brand. They were boom years, which gave rise to the entry of venture capital and the opening of numerous franchises, also abroad.
The ship began to sink after the financial crisis of 2008. The binge of success and high debt combined with the hole in consumers' pockets, which reduced the company's sales. The management of the businessman was also controversial, who even incorporated the firm in the midst of the crisis (December 2009) to the Alternative Stock Market, from which it was later forced to leave due to its delicate economic situation.
Already on the verge of bankruptcy, Tena sold its shares in 2017 to investors led by former Costa Rican Finance Minister Federico Carrillo. Their intention was to get it afloat, and they even bet on opening new stores, but the pandemic finished them off and left their plans to nothing. In July 2022, the company entered bankruptcy. After an extension, at the end of last July it entered the liquidation phase with a debt of more than 26 million euros.
The closure of the store in Zaragoza could be added to that of its other property in A Coruña, where strong discounts are also being applied. Meanwhile, the five franchises that remain in Spain remain open waiting for what may happen to the brand. “We are in limbo, without news from the company or the administrators or knowing how long we will be able to operate,” they complained to this newspaper from Ceuta.