SEATTLE - May 25, 1999- Attorney General Christine Gregoire said today a settlement of an antitrust lawsuit against Toys "R" Us and two toy manufacturers will provide more than $600,000 worth of toys to needy Washington families. Toy’s R Us, the nations largest toy retailer, and the manufacturers will donate more than $33 million in toys and pay $13 million to settle lawsuits filed by Washington and other states.
Gregoire said Washington will receive toys valued at over $672,770. The toys will be distributed by the U.S. Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots Foundation.
"Providing toys to thousands of needy children is a very positive way to resolve this lawsuit," said Gregoire.
The Washington lawsuit alleged Toys "R" Us and the toy manufacturers conspired to cut off supplies of popular toys to warehouse clubs that threatened to undersell Toys "R" Us. According to Gregoire, Toys "R" Us used its market power to obtain agreements from toy manufacturers to limit the sale of certain toys or to sell toys only in "combination" packages to discount clubs such as Costco and Price Club.
"The combination packages made comparison shopping impossible," said Gregoire. "Because the products were slightly different, consumers couldn’t accurately compare the prices charged by the clubs to those charged by Toys "R" Us."
Under the settlement, Toys "R" Us and toy manufacturers Mattel and The Little Tikes Company denied any wrongdoing but agreed not to restrict the sale of certain popular toys to warehouse clubs. Washington’s share of the cash portion of the settlement will be $267,280. That money is to be used to provide children with toys, books or other educational materials. In addition, Washington will receive reimbursement for its legal costs.
Washington will receive three shipments of toys, to be distributed statewide during the next three holiday seasons. In December of last year, more than $73,000 worth of new toys were delivered to needy Washington children by Toys For Tots. The toys were donated by Hasbro, Inc., which also was sued by the states.
Forty-three other states the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico also sued.