Toys R Us set to close down 182 stores across United States

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A Toys "R" Us store is seen, in Hayes, Britain December 2, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Toy retail chain Toys R Us has filed court documents Tuesday outlining its plan to close down 182 stores as part of its bankruptcy reorganization procedures.

In the documents, the company listed the 182 branches that are set to close, pending court approval, but it noted some of the closings might be avoided if more favorable lease terms can be negotiated.

The company also released a statement which is posted on the company’s website.

“The reinvention of our brands requires that we make tough decisions about our priorities and focus,” said Toys R Us Chief Executive Dave Brandon said in the statement. “To that end and following a top-to-bottom assessment of our business, we have decided to close a number of out U.S. stores.”

According to the company, the termination of the stores is part of its effort to reinvent itself as a leaner and smarter retail chain. Aside from closing many of its stores, the company is also converting a number of its branches into combined Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores.

If all 182 stores get closed, Toys R Us will have reduced its store fleet by around 20 percent, which amounts to 6.9 million square feet of store area. Toys R Us stores are estimated to begin their store closing sales in early February, with branch closings set to begin by mid-April.

The company asked the federal bankruptcy court in Richmond, Virginia for permission to close the stores, claiming that it has faced a very challenging commercial environment that was made worse by consumers’ preference of online stores over physical ones.

Toys R Us has been struggling with enormous debt levels that reach over $5 billion before bankruptcy. In the past few years, the company has experienced weak sales numbers as customers defected to Amazon’s online retail store and other major chains like Target and Walmart.