Toys R Us is planning to close about 180 stores across the country, including 2 in the Rochester area, in a bid to restructure the company and emerge from bankruptcy protection.
Among the stores on the list, a Toys R Us located on Ridge Road West in Greece and a Babies R Us store on Marketplace Drive in Henrietta. ( the Toys R Us on Hylan Drive in Henrietta is not on the list of stores to be closed)
The closures still need court approval, but management is planning to shut those locations beginning in early February and running through mid-April.
Hobbled by $5 billion in debt, the company that once dominated toy sales in the U.S. filed for bankruptcy protection in September.
Chairman and CEO Dave Brandon said in a letter Wednesday that tough decisions are required to save Toys R Us.
Toys R Us isn't alone. Around three dozen retailers sought bankruptcy protection last year due in large part to a radical shift in consumer behavior, both in where they shop, and what they buy. Some of the companies that have gone under have been small, but there are also big retailers on the list, like Payless Shoe Source, Gymboree Corp. and True Religion jeans.
Retired RIT Marketing Professor Gene Fram says online competition from companies like Amazon has hastened the financial problems at Toys R Us.
“They sell commodity types of toys that you can buy virtually everywhere and you can compare prices on it very readily ; so when you’re selling commodity items it’s a tough marketing position to be in," Fram told WXXI News.
Toys R Us closed its flagship store in Manhattan's Times Square, a huge tourist destination, about two years ago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report