Toys R Us is to close all US stores

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Toys R Us is to close all its US stores and put much of its remaining international operations up for sale as it runs out of money.

The company, which applied for bankruptcy protection last year, said it had failed to find a buyer or reach a restructuring deal with creditors to push the business out of bankruptcy.

It has 735 stores in the United States employing more than 30,000 staff.

The stricken retailer did hold out hope of some jobs being saved, saying it was investigating the possibility of integrating the 200 best-performing stores with its Canadian business but said all US stores were to be wound down.

Chairman and chief executive, Dave Brandon, said: “I am very disappointed with the result, but we no longer have the financial support to continue the company’s US operations.

” We are therefore implementing an orderly process to shutter our US operations and will pursue going concern sales or reorganisations of certain of our international businesses, while our other international businesses consider their options.”

It said it had initiated a sale process for its stores in Asia, central Europe and in Canada while the businesses in Australia, France, Poland, Portugal and Spain were considering their options, including potential sale.

Toys R Us has a history going back 70 years.

It was at the top of its game in the 1980s and early 90s as its sprawling warehouse-style sites proved attractive to families as a destination for a fun trip out.

There they could browse among the world’s top-selling toy brands.

A growth of competition – latterly from the likes of Amazon – and a lack of investment combined to price Toys R Us out of the market as its financial woes grew.

Neil Saunders, managing director of analyst group GlobalData, said staff only needed to look one way for who to blame for losing their jobs.

” The liquidation of Toys R Us is the inevitable but unfortunate conclusion of a retailer that lost its way and forgot core retail competencies.

” Even during recent store closeouts, Toys R Us failed to create any sense of excitement. Its so-called heavy discounts remained well above the standard prices of many rivals like Amazon and Walmart.

” Arguably, if Toys R Us can’t successfully execute a closeout and stimulate interest, then it has little to no chance of trading under normalised conditions.

” Toys R US may well blame suppliers and competitors for its demise, but the primary responsibility lies with poor management decisions.”

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