Toys ‘R’ Us Times Square Pop-Up Spared as Toy Giant Shutters 182 Stores
Toys “R” Us’ holiday pop-up that opened at 1466 Broadway at the end of last August in Times Square has dodged two bullets: It has remained open long after the end of the holiday season, and it did not make the list of 182 locations that the company proposed to close in a court filing yesterday, as the chain tries to find its sea legs.
“Our Times Square Store was not listed, though I want to reiterate it is still a temporary location,” a Toys spokeswoman told Commercial Observer. She added that “we are in a temporary lease currently, with no closure date yet announced.”
The 182 stores represent 20 percent of the New Jersey-based toy giant’s total units, according to Fortune. Toys asked a federal bankruptcy court in Virginia yesterday for the green light to close those stores. Assuming the company’s plan is approved by the court on Feb. 6, closures will commence next month with “the majority” closing in mid-April, according to a letter on the company’s website to customers and signed by company CEO Dave Brandon. About half of the locations are Babies “R” Us stores.
The sites that are slated to close span the country. There are 14 on the chopping block in New York State, including a Babies “R” Us at 24-30 Union Square East in Manhattan and a Babies “R” Us at 139-19 20th Avenue in College Point, Queens.
Saddled with $5 billion in debt, the 70-year-old Toys filed for bankruptcy protection last September. In a release about the company’s third-quarter results, on Dec. 19, 2017, Brandon said: “Our results for the quarter were disappointing. They not only reflect the broad competitive trends across retail, they demonstrate the continued challenges we face in both the baby and learning categories. Though we continue to see growth in our core toy category, we recognize the need for change in order to better meet customers’ ever evolving shopping preferences.”
Despite its financial woes, the company opened a new 35,000-square-foot Toys “R” Us’ popup at 1466 Broadway, last August, marking a triumphant return for the company to the Crossroads of the World. Toys “R” Us closed the doors of its 110,000-square-foot Time Square square at 1514 Broadway in December 2016.
The Toys spokeswoman noted to CO that this “is not just a store closure story. This is about the reinvention of our brands and business and the continuation of our restructuring process, which started last fall. Notably, we are implementing a number of initiatives to ensure the business is viable, including the opening of around a dozen of locations into co-branded Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us stores, which are conversions from existing locations.”