Fort Wayne not on Toys ‘R’ Us closing list

Toys 'R' Us says it will be closing some U.S. stores and converting others to co-branded locations as it continues to deal with its financial restructuring after its bankruptcy filing. (Associated Press file photo)

NEW YORK — Toys ‘R’ Us, squeezed by Amazon.com and huge chains like Walmart, will close 180 stores, or about 20 percent of its U.S. locations, within months.

Three Indiana stores are on the list: Two in Indianapolis and one in Michigan City.

Fort Wayne has a store in Glenbrook Commons, 4122 Lima Road.

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 operates about 900 stores in the U.S.

The store closings will begin in February and the majority of the targeted locations will go dark by mid-April. At some other locations, the retailer is combining its Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us stores.

Toys ‘R’ Us, based in Wayne, N.J., has struggled with debt since private-equity firms Bain Capital, KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust took it private in a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout in 2005. The plan had been to take the company public again, but weak sales have prevented that from happening. With such debt levels, Toys R Us has not had the financial flexibility to invest in its business.

While its numbers have been shrinking, Toys R Us still sells about 20 percent of the toys bought in the U.S. according to Stephanie Wissink, an analyst at Jefferies LLC.

Competitive pressures will force the company to take a close look at all of its stores, and more will likely be shuttered over the next year or two, Wissink said.

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