Toys R Us, the once booming toy empire that has fallen on hard times in recent years as shoppers shifted to online sales and Walmart, is expected to sell or close all of its remaining U.S. stores, impacting some 33,000 jobs, according to The Washington Post.
The news comes just seven weeks after the company said it would close 180 Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores across the country beginning in February.
The Toys R Us at 6 Bangor Mall Boulevard in Bangor and the Babies R Us at 200 Running Mill Road in South Portland have been holding going-out-of-business sales. The Toys R Us at 303 Maine Mall Road in South Portland had remained open.
The Wayne, New Jersey, company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2017 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia.
The toy store company has not yet updated its status on its restructuring website.
But Dave Brandon, chairman and CEO of the toy company, said he is very disappointed.
“We no longer have the financial support to continue the company’s U.S. operations. We are therefore implementing an orderly process to shutter our U.S. operations and will pursue going concern sales or reorganizations of certain of our international businesses, while our other international businesses consider their options,” he said in a prepared statement..
Meantime, in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Toys R Us said it filed a motion Wednesday with the bankruptcy court seeking authority to close all 744 of its remaining retail stores in the United States, including in Puerto Rico. It also asked to shut its distribution centers and discontinue and wind down all operations through its Delaware subsidiaries.
The company also is seeking to appoint a group of liquidators to oversee the liquidation and wind-down process. The SEC filing noted Toys R Us intends to begin store-closing liquidation sales and implementing store closures as soon as possible, with the consent of the court.
Toys R Us also want court approval to get another $60 million in funding from its lenders to support vendors and for working capital.
The company said in a statement that it is now in discussions with interested parties for a transaction that could combine up to 200 of the top performing U.S. stores with its Canadian operations. The liquidation request with the bankruptcy court includes a right to recall any stores included in the proposed Canadian transaction.
The Washington Post, citing a source familiar with the internal deliberations at the company, said the company told employees the closures would likely occur over time.
Reports earlier this week said the company had stopped paying its suppliers.
Earlier on Wednesday, The Sun reported Toys R Us would close all 106 of its United Kingdom stores, affecting about 3,000 workers.
In late February, the toy retailer was reported to be in talks with Hong Kong’s billionaire Fung brothers to sell a majority of its Asian business.
Toys R Us also announced in a statement that it is pursuing a reorganization and sale process for its Canadian and international operations in Central Europe, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The company’s international operations in Australia, France, Poland, Portugal and Spain are considering their options, including potential sale processes. But the stores in those international markets are currently open and serving customers, according to Toys R Us.
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