Toys “R” Us Inc. said it will sell or close all of its stores in the United States, a move that could affect 33,000 jobs in the coming months, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Chief executive David Brandon made the announcement on Wednesday in front of employees at the retailer’s headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey.
The 70-year-old chain was expected to file liquidation papers later in the day, ahead of a bankruptcy court hearing on Thursday, the newspaper said.
The company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September, has more than 700 remaining stores in the US.
Brandon said it is also likely to liquidate in France, Spain, Poland and Australia, and sell operations in Canada, Central Europe and Asia.
“We’re putting a ‘for sale’ sign on everything,” WSJ quoted Brandon as telling employees. “Frankly, all anyone has to do is offer one dollar more” that is being offered by liquidation firms.
It will pay workers at least 60 days of salary and benefits, he added.
The company has been struggling with more than US$5 billion in debt from a leveraged buyout while facing intense competition with online and discount retailers, the Journal said.
Court papers show Toys “R” Us has roughly 1,600 stores globally, with approximately 60,000 employees, not counting those hired during peak holiday seasons.
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