60-year-old national toy store chain Toys R Us is planning to sell or close all 800 of its U.S. stores, affecting as many as 33,000 jobs as the company winds down its operations, according to a source familiar with the matter. Toys R Us closure will create new opportunities for big-box stores, online retailers and mom-and-pop shops to pick up a larger share of the toy business.
The news comes six months after the retailer, founded in 1948 and headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey, filed for bankruptcy. The company has struggled to pay down nearly $8 billion in debt — much of it dating to a 2005 leveraged buyout — and has had trouble finding a buyer. There were reports earlier this week that Toys R Us had stopped paying its suppliers, which include the country’s largest toy-makers. On Wednesday, the company announced it would close all 100 of its U.K. stores. In the United States, the company told employees closures would likely occur over time, and not all at once, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.
Toys R Us, once the country’s preeminent toy retailer, has been unable to keep up with big-box and online competitors. The recent holiday season dealt another blow to the embattled company, which struggled to find its footing even as the retail industry racked up its largest gains in years. In January, the retailer announced it would close 182 U.S. stores, or about one-fifth of its remaining Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations, which included New York locations such as, 139-19 20th Ave., College Point NY, 24-30 Union Square E, Union Square NY, 5181 Sunrise Hwy., Sayville NY, 5214 Sunrise Hwy., Massapequa NY, 2335 Marketplace Drive, Henrietta NY, 1569 Niagara Falls Blvd., Buffalo NY, 401 Frank Sottile Boulevard, Kingston NY, 708 Upper Glen St., Glens Falls NY, 221 Wade Road Extension, Latham NY, 2700 Central Park Ave., Yonkers NY, 66 Metropolitan Ave., Middle Village NY, 1350 Corporate Drive, Westbury NY, 108 Veterans Memorial Highway, Commack NY, 461 Lycoming Mall Cir, Williamsport NY and 1530 Ridge Rd. West, Greece NY.