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Toys R Us Plans to Sell or Close Over 700 U.S. Stores

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Also plans to sell its operations in Asia, Canada, Europe

American retailer TOYS R US told its employees on Wednesday that it will sell or close all of its remaining stores in the United States. The move will affect over 700 stores. It is also likely to liquidate its operations in France, Spain, Poland, and Australia, and plans to sell its operations in Canada, Central Europe, and Asia. The plans may affect up to 33,000 jobs in the United States alone.

The company operates about 1,600 stores globally, and employs 60,000 people. As of 2010, TOYS R US Japan is a wholly owned subsidiary of the main TOYS R US, Inc. in the United States. The TOYS R US stores in Japan often sell exclusive merchandise for anime, games, and manga. In addition, the company is credited for production cooperation for some anime films in the Pokémon franchise.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last September. The company's Chief Executive David Brandon stated that the retail chain's earnings last year amounted to "less than half" of the US$600 million it typically earns in a year.

The company struggled to remain afloat after a buyout by equity firms KKR & Co. and Bain Capital, and real estate investment company Vornado Realty Trust in 2005. The buyout put a US$5.3 billion debt on the company.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal (Paul Ziobro, Lillian Rizzo), The Washington Post (Abha Bhattarai), CNN Money (Chris Isidore and Jackie Wattles)

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