Toys R Us Tells Workers It Will Likely Close All US And UK Stores

Toys “R” Us

After failing to restructure its debt or find a buyer, Toys R Us will either sell or shutter all of its brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S, Reuters reported.

The retailer has over 700 remaining locations in the U.S., including those under the Babies R Us banner. If completed, the company’s liquidation would be among the largest in retail history since Sports Authority closed nearly 500 stores, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Since a leveraged buyout, Toys R Us has been burdened with over $5 billion in debt. Competition from eCommerce retailers such as Amazon and discount stores such as Walmart hasn’t helped the company either.

Beyond the U.S., Toys R Us Chief Executive David Brandon said the company may liquidate its operations in France, Spain, Poland and Australia. In addition, the company hopes to find a buyer for its Canadian business, which it plans to package with 200 stores in the U.S.

“We’re putting a for-sale sign on everything,” Brandon told employees, according to WSJ. “Frankly, all anyone has to do is offer one dollar more.”

The retailer plans to shutter its remaining 75 brick-and-mortar locations in the U.K. as the retailer was not able to find a buyer for their business there, Reuters reported. The news comes after Toys R Us planned to shutter about 200 more stores after a weak holiday sales season. The company also plans to lay off many of its corporate staff, the WSJ had reported based on information from people familiar with the situation.

Sales at the retailer 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. Company spokeswoman Amy von Walter had said back in February that she would not elaborate on the closures.