Toys R Us reportedly planning to close 200 more stores, corporate layoffs

Toys R Us is struggling to convince consumers and vendors that it can remain in business.

Bankrupt retailer Toys R Us is planning to close 200 more stores and make staff cuts at its corporate headquarters in Wayne, N.J., according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The report, which first appeared online Wednesday evening, triggered a new round of social media posts lamenting the death of Toys R Us, a blow for the retailer, which has been struggling to convince consumers and vendors that it has a future in the toy business.

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The (Bergen) Record has learned that Toys R Us plans to hold a staff meeting today at its Wayne headquarters. A year ago this week Toys R Us laid off 250 employees at its headquarters, about 15% of its staff there.

The 200 store closings would be in addition to the approximately 170 U.S. stores where Toys R Us currently is holding going out of business sales. If the retailer goes ahead with those closings, it would be reducing its store fleet by close to 50%, from approximately 880 last year to roughly 400 stores.

Ever since Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in September, industry and bankruptcy experts have been predicting that the company will shrink down to fewer than 200 stores in order to remain viable.

Toys R Us has asked the bankruptcy court for permission to extend the deadline by which it must notify landlords that it plans to terminate store leases. Because Toys R Us owns many of its store properties, stores that it owns and that are slated for closing would not be on that list.

Manufacturers at the annual Toy Fair held in New York City this week said that Toys R Us has hurt the industry by the way it is handling the bankruptcy, because it has not done enough to correct the impression on the part of consumers that all of its stores are closing. Toys R Us has told the bankruptcy court that it plans to emerge from bankruptcy by the fall and that it is developing a plan for a leaner, more innovative company.