KB Toys chain says it will cut 3,500 jobs and close at least 375 stores

Thursday, January 29th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ KB Toys said it will cut 3,500 jobs, or nearly 30 percent of its work force, and close at least 375 stores after a bankruptcy judge approved the company's Chapter 11 reorganization plan.

The Pittsfield-based chain sought bankruptcy protection earlier this month, blaming the Christmas season's sharp price wars and increased competition from mega-retailers like Wal-Mart.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Joel Rosenthal approved the company's plans to liquidate up to 490 stores on Wednesday. However, the company said in a statement later Wednesday that it may close fewer stores than that if landlords are willing to renegotiate leases.

Before the proposed reorganization, the privately held KB Toys had 4 percent to 5 percent of the U.S. toy business with 12,000 employees and 1,231 stores.