Iconic toy store chain Toys ‘R’ Us will sell or close all its US stores in the coming months, risking up to 33,000 jobs, the Wall Street Journal has reported on Wednesday.
The retailer is likely to liquidate its operations in Australia, France, Spain and Poland, according the report.
Australian management said in a statement it was business as usual. However, there are reports that the 45 Australian stores, which employ approximately 2700 people, could be at risk.
CEO David Brandon made the announcement to workers at the toy-store chain’s Wayne, New Jersey headquarters, the Journal reported.
The closure is a blow to generations of consumers and hundreds of toy makers that sold their products at the chain’s 885 US locations, including Barbie maker Mattel, board game company Hasbro and other large vendors such as Lego.
Toys ‘R’ Us, which has roughly 33,000 full- and part-time US employees, was already in the process of closing one-fifth of its stores as part of efforts to emerge from one of the largest ever bankruptcies by a specialty retailer.
Efforts collapsed this month after lenders decided, absent a clear reorganisation plan, they could recover more in a liquidation, closing stores and raising money from merchandise sales, sources said.
He added that Toys ‘R’ Us also planned to sell operations in Canada, Central Europe and Asia.
Toys ‘R’ Us is trying to package its Canadian business with 200 US stores and find a buyer, the CEO said, according to the Journal.