Toys "R" Us has announced it will be closing around 180 stores in the United States later this year.
The toy company filed for bankruptcy last year, and in a letter to customers Toys "R" Us CEO Dave Brandon described the closures as an unfortunate but necessary part of their financial reorganization (via Fortune).
"The reinvention of our brands requires that we make tough decisions about our priorities and focus. To that end and following a top-to-bottom assessment of our business, we have decided to close a number of our U.S. stores. We also intend to convert a number of locations into co-branded Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores. The actions we are taking are necessary to give us the best chance to emerge from our bankruptcy proceedings as a more viable and competitive company that will provide the level of service and experience you should expect from a market leader."
That will result in around 180 total stores, with around half of those being Babies "R" Us stores. That accounts for around 20% of their U.S. presence, but around 12 locations will also be getting a big revamp to better take advantage of the two brands. If successful that program will be expanded next year.
Brandon also cited issues during this holiday season as areas that need changing. "This past season, we were successful in accomplishing this objective for millions of customers. However, there were also far too many transactions where this wasn't the case - due to our operational missteps. As the leader of this company, I want you to know that we can and will address the gaps in the experience that you may have had when shopping this holiday. My team is already hard at work to make the improvements necessary to ensure that we have the products you want, when, where and how you want them."
Those store closings will begin in early February, and Toys "R" Us expects those locations to be mostly closed by mid-April. They also welcomed customers "to take full advantage of the deep discounts and deals available."
This holiday season was a bit rough for the toy industry in general, but hopefully one of the biggest names in the business can turn things around.