Major toy retailer Toys “R” Us Inc. on Wednesday will be closing a significant number of its stores in the US in the upcoming months, as it attempts to reinvent its brands to recover from its September bankruptcy.
As part of its bankruptcy reorganization plans, the toy store chain filed for court documents outlining plans to shut down about one-fifth or 180 of its US store base, starting early February and will continue until mid-April.
This will lessen its physical presence by around 20 percent or some 6.9 million square feet in its home market.
Its infant and toddler-focused chain Babies “R” Us locations will account for at least half of the shut down. It will see about 40 percent of its locations closed up.
The company noted that some closings may be avoided if it could discuss for a more favorable lease terms. However, most of the stores included are expected to end operations, as Toys “R” Us aims to restructure itself as a leaner and smarter retailer.
Toys “R” Us chief executive David Brandon stated that restructuring their business requires them to make tough decisions about their priorities and focus.
Toys “R” Us Canada President Melanie Teed-Murch said that all 83 Canadian units of the toy seller will maintain usual operations.
The reorganization plan also includes revamping several locations, joining Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us to form one co-branded store, while investing in websites. The planned stores are expected to grow in number by next year.
Moreover, the company will reduce the amount of its products being offered in locations to shrink inventory, which would make its store operations and supply chain simpler.
Babies “R” Us on the other hand, will shift focus to promote its baby-registry business that has been showing better sales of higher-priced items, such as furniture.
Toys “R” Us Restructuring a $5 billion Debt
Restructuring was meant to alleviate Toys “R” Us debt burden and to allow it reinvent its business for the modern period.
The specialty retailer was faced with a $5 billion long-term debt, which has hurt consumer confidence and disrupted other parts of its business.
As a result, Toys “R” Us filed for a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September ahead of holiday season in the US and Canada to restructure its debt.
The toy seller faced a 120-day deadline for rejecting store leases at this time, but it was able to extend the lease rejection deadline to April 16 in December.
Toys “R” Us on Tuesday was able to get bankruptcy court approval of a plan to pay $1.3 million to extend store leases further than the April 16 deadline.
Legal representatives of the company has argued that it need more time to choose which of its 880 US stores to close as it reorganizes. Toys “R” Us aim to end bankruptcy this year.
The company had said that its Chapter 11 filing would not become a huge retrenchment. Brandon also promised to make their locations easier to shop and more fun by including toy demonstrations and other experiences.
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