March 14 (UPI) — Toy retailer Toys ‘R’ Us told employees Wednesday it plans to close all of its stores in the United States, affecting as many as 33,000 jobs.
CEO David Brandon notified employees at the company’s Wayne, N.J., headquarters about the closure of its approximately 800 U.S. stores as it plans to file liquidation papers Wednesday evening prior to a bankruptcy court hearing on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“I have always believed that this brand and this business should exist in the U.S,” Brandon said in a conference call with staff.
A group of toymakers led by MGA Entertainment submitted a bid to purchase Toys ‘R’ Us’s Canadian arm which includes 82 stores, according to the Washington Post.
MGA CEO Issac Larian added he is also looking into buying up to 400 of the company’s U.S. stores, which he would seek to operate under the Toys ‘R’ Us name.
“There is no toy business without Toys ‘R’ Us,” he said. “It’s a big deal and I’m going to try to salvage as much of it as possible.”
Toys ‘R’ Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September as it struggled to pay down nearly $8 billion in debt from a leveraged buyout in 2005.
It also struggled to compete with other big-box and online retailers such as Amazon, Target and Walmart and announced plans to close 182 storesthroughout the United States in January.
The company also announced Wednesday it would close all 100 of its U.K. stores its British arm filed for the equivalent of chapter 11 protection.
Brandon told staffers it was likely the company would also liquidate stores in France, Spain, Poland and Australia.