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Toys 'R' Us Shutting U.S. Stores, Liquidating Inventory

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WAYNE, New Jersey -

Toys "R" Us is going out of business in the U.S.  The iconic chain announced early Thursday that it's seeking bankruptcy court approval to start closing its 735 U.S. stores and liquidating their inventory.

Toys "R" Us news release

Some 33,000 employees will lose their jobs as a result.

The list includes the Tulsa store near 71st and Memorial.

Toys "R" Us Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dave Brandon said in a statement, "I am very disappointed with the result, but we no longer have the financial support to continue the Company's U.S. operations."

"… This is a profoundly sad day for us as well as the millions of kids and families who we have served for the past 70 years," he continued.

The Wayne, New Jersey-based retailer said it's negotiating the possible combination of as many as 200 of its top performing U.S. stores with its Canadian operations, and is continuing its reorganization and sale process for its Canadian and international operations in Asia and Central Europe, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland. "The company's international operations in Australia, France, Poland, Portugal and Spain are considering their options in light of this announcement, including potential sale processes in their respective markets," the chain said.

Inventory of stores in the proposed Canadian transaction would be subject to a right to recall, Toys "R" Us added.

Efforts to sell Toys "R" Us' U.K. business failed and as a result, 100 stores employing 3,000 will close their doors, according to media reports. 

Toys "R" Us, which declared bankruptcy in September, was unable to convince creditors to refinance its more than $5 billion in debt, a crushing load that experts say hampered its ability to adapt to the growth in online shopping, among other consumer trends.

Liquidating Toys "R" Us in the U.S. will lead to the largest layoff in the retail sector since at least 2015, and would be 12th-largest job cut announcement since 1993, trailing the 34,000 people who lost their jobs when Circuit City went out of business in 2009, according to Challenger, Grey & Christmas, an executive outplacement firm. Last year alone, retailers cut 76,000 jobs as 7,000 stores closed.

"It would be a tough market for those folks to go into with their specific skills," said Andy Challenger, a vice president at Challenger Grey. 

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