Retail chain Toys R Us will reportedly close another 200 stores in addition to the 180 locations previously announced. The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources familiar with the matter, that the nation’s largest toy seller has also “walked back from a promise” to provide severance for its employees.
The total number of store closings, including those announced in January, would be around 380. Layoffs could be in excess of 9,000. The Journal noted “a disappointing holiday sales season” as part of its report on the additional store closings.
New Jersey-based Toys R Us announced that it had filed for bankruptcy protections on Jan. 23. Soon after, it announced that it would close up to 182 stores, or up to one-fifth of the company’s total number of U.S. retail locations. Today’s announcement would bring that number closer to 44 percent.
“The reinvention of our brands requires that we make tough decisions about our priorities and focus,” said Dave Brandon, chairman and CEO of Toys R Us, in an open letter published at that time. “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.”
The Wall Street Journal says that the number of store closings could go even higher. It also said that store managers were recently required to tell hourly workers that “there are no severance benefits being provided for the store-closing process.” Approximately 4,500 workers were at risk with the first round of closings, and at least that many could be affected by this latest round.
While negotiations surrounding the bankruptcy have been ongoing, a judge recently allowed Toys R Us to pay millions in bonuses to its top executives.