After a weak holiday sales season, Toys R Us is planning to shutter about more 200 stores. The company also plans to lay off many of its corporate staff, the Wall Street Journal reported based on information from people familiar with the situation.
The news comes as the retailer's sales have declined 15 percent from the 2017 holiday shopping season compared to 2016, and as the retailer previously announced it may close 100 stores. This latest set of closings could halve the number of U.S. stores that the retailer had prior to its bankruptcy filing. Still, the final number of store closures could change as the retailer is still in discussions about the closings.
Toys R Us had approximately 1,600 stores globally, with about half of them in the U.S. when it filed for bankruptcy protection in September. Toys R Us spokeswoman Amy von Walter would not elaborate on the closures on Wednesday (Feb. 21).
“As we have shared publicly, our focus is on the reinvention of our business and emergence from chapter 11,” Amy von Walter told WSJ. “Decisions about our future store footprint and organizational structure will be based on needs of the new business model and so it would be premature for me to comment on that.”
As Toys R Us struggles, some executives from toy manufacturers are considering whether they should do business with the retailer. And approximately 40 percent of the retailer’s vendors tightened terms for the retailer in the weeks leading up to the retailer’s bankruptcy filing in September.
Since the filing, the company has been on a campaign to revitalize sales and bring more consumers back into the stores. It has announced that it would level up its eCommerce efforts “to better reflect its brand, promote the hottest toys and provide improved delivery capabilities so Toys R Us can effectively compete in the online shopping space.”