After a 70-year run, the end is near for Toys R Us. The iconic American company is planning to close all of its 800 stores, including eight Chicago-area locations.
The closing of the company's stores over the coming months will finalize the downfall of the chain that succumbed to heavy debt and relentless trends that undercut its business, from online shopping to mobile games.
CEO David Brandon told employees Wednesday the company's plan is to liquidate all of its U.S. stores, according to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The Associated Press. Toys R Us filed the paperwork for liquidation Wednesday night after first filing for bankruptcy back in September, hoping to get rid of some debt and reinvent its stores.
But that plan didn't work, and in January, the company announced the closure of 182 stores, just months before Wednesday's announcement that a full closure is imminent.
Brandon said Wednesday that Toys R Us will try to bundle its Canadian business, with about 200 stores, and find a buyer. The company's U.S. online store would still be running for the next couple of weeks in case there's a buyer for it.
It's likely to also liquidate its businesses in Australia, France, Poland, Portugal and Spain, according to the recording. It's already shuttering its business in the United Kingdom. That would leave it with stores in Canada, central Europe and Japan, where it could find buyers for those assets.
Toys R Us had about 60,000 full-time and part-time employees worldwide last year. The company hasn't reported a full profit since 2012 and a bankruptcy hearing was scheduled for Thursday.