Fourteen Toys R Us locations in New England are among 182 stores across the United States that the company plans to close as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plans.
The Wayne, New Jersey-based retailer filed court papers late Tuesday outlining its plans to close 20 percent of its stores in the coming months. Going-out-of-business sales are slated to begin in February with closures continuing through mid-April, Toys R Us Chief Executive Dave Brandon said in a letter posted on the company's website Tuesday night.
Among the New England stores slated to close are:
- 302 Providence, Dedham
- 70 Worcester Providence Tpk/Rt. 146, Millbury
- 50 Holyoke Street, Holyoke
- 217 Hartford Ave., Bellingham
- 6110 Shops Way, Northborough
- Shoppers World Plaza, 1 Worcester Road, Framingham
- 376 North Universal Drive, North Haven
- 275 Union St., Waterbury
- 3491 Berlin Turnpike, Newington
- 169 Hale Road, Manchester
- 6 Bangor Mall Blvd., Bangor
- 200 Running Hill Road, Portland
- 29 Gusabel Avenue, Nashua
- 300 Quaker Lane, Warwick
In addition to closing stores, the company intends to convert a number of locations into combined Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores. The closures still need court approval.
The company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September, cited increased competition and a shift in customers moving away from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to shopping online for the decision to shutter the stores.
"The reinvention of our brands requires that we make tough decisions about our priorities and focus," Brandon said.
Customer reactions are mixed.
Daniel McLaughlin says he will have to find a new store to buy his son’s toys.
"Toys R' Us have been a part of my life since I’ve been a child and we come every week, just to come and just check out the toys," he said. "I don’t know that’s pretty crazy."
"It's all online shopping," said one shopper. "I mean, honestly, it is a lot easier with a two-month-old. Getting out, its winter, its cold, and you just don’t want to go out into the stores."
The company noted that some closings may be avoided if it is able to negotiate more favorable lease terms. But most of the stores listed in the documents are expected to close as Toys R Us tries to reinvent itself as a leaner, smarter retailer.