Toys ‘R’ Us to close or sell all 800 US stores after six decades in business

A Toys R Us sign is visible at a Toys R Us store January 28, 2002 in Arlington Heights, IL. Toys R Us Inc. plans to cut 1,900 jobs and to close 27 Toys R Us stores and 37 Kids R Us stores in a drive to cut costs and boost its operating profits. The toy and childrens apparel retailer said on January 28, 2002 it will take a $213 million pretax restructuring charge as a result of the moves in its fiscal fourth quarter ending February 2, 2002. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON D.C. — Toys ‘R’ Us plans to sell or close all of its 800 stores in the United States after six decades in business, according to the Washington Post.

The closures could affect as many as 33,000 jobs. There are at least six Toys ‘R’ Us stores in the Kansas City area. Closures are expected to happen over time and not all at once, the Washington Post reports.

The company also has a distribution center in Lee’s Summit. It’s unclear if the company will continue its online sales.

Six months ago, the struggling toy company filed for bankruptcy. The Washington Post reports Toys ‘R’ Us has struggled to pay off $8 billion in debt.

The company announced Wednesday it is also closing all of its stores in the United Kingdom.

Toys ‘R’ Us is the last U.S. megastore dedicated entirely to toys, and without it, toy-makers could struggle to sell anything but their most popular items.

Mattel’s overall sales during the fourth quarter (i.e, Christmas) fell 12 percent from a year ago, led by big drops for the Fisher-Price, American Girl and Lego competitor Mega Bloks brands.

Hasbro reported a decline in sales during the fourth quarter, despite the fact that the Nerf and My Little Pony owner now holds nearly all of the lucrative licenses tied to movies from Disney and its many other studios — Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.

Hasbro said that Star Wars product sales actually fell in the fourth quarter, as did sales of Disney Frozen toys.

The softness in the toy industry is partly due to the rise of video games and other high-tech toys that kids are increasingly playing with instead of action figures, dolls and board games.

But the shifting tide in retail isn’t helping either. The dominance of Amazon has put pressure on many consumer products companies as Amazon has made a relentless push to lower prices.

Recent struggles at Walmart and Target are also hurting Hasbro and Mattel.

Walmart is the largest customer for Mattel and Hasbro, accounting for about 20 percent of total sales for each toy maker. Both toy companies get nearly 10% of their revenue from Target too.