It’s official: Toys R Us is going out of business.
After months of speculation and financial trouble in the bankruptcy process, the once-frequented toy store chain is closing up shop.
According to NPR, Toys R Us alerted employees Wednesday that the store’s parent company would be closing all of its United States locations or selling them. The news comes just hours after the company announced plans to close all of its United Kingdom stores.
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The information came from an anonymous source, NPR said, as the company has yet to publicly announce its plans for full liquidation. That source said they’re unaware how long it would be before stores start shutting down.
Toys R Us, founded in 1948 at Children’s Discount Supermarts, was the go-to place for generations of kids looking to pick up the latest toy or video game. At one time, Toys R Us was a cultural phenomenon, and people knew the company’s name from shopping sprees on gameshows to the can’t-miss appearance of Geoffrey the giraffe.
At the height of the Pokemon craze in 1999, the chain allowed customers to download special Pokemon to their game, trading card included. But as competition from companies like Walmart and Amazon started kicking up, the pressure was on.
TRU’s woes have been further exasperated by $5 billion in debt the company incurred as part of it 2015 takeover by Bain Capital, KKR and Vornado Realty Trust. The interest on that debt, Toys R Us’ inability to streamline and modernize, and hundreds of millions of dollars owed to toy manufacturers like Hasbro and Mattel, led its current state of affairs.
Stores have already started closing as part of an earlier wave of shutdowns, so expect an official filing in the coming days.