Toys ‘R’ Us, an iconic United States toy store, has filed for bankruptcy after struggling to compete with online retailers and racking up about $5 billion worth of debt.
In a statement Monday, the company said it is voluntarily seeking relief through the U.S. bankruptcy process, but that its international holdings would not be affected.
“The company's approximately 1,600 Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us stores around the world, the vast majority of which are profitable, are continuing to operate as usual,” the statement reads. “Customers can also continue to shop for the toy and baby products they are looking for online.”
The company said it has begun the process of working with creditors to restructure the debt that its stores will remain open as the bankruptcy plays itself out.
The bankruptcy filing, CEO Dave Brandon said in a statement, “will provide us with greater financial flexibility to invest in our business ... and strengthen our competitive position in an increasingly challenging and rapidly changing retail marketplace worldwide.”
The company said it is “well-stocked” for the upcoming holiday season, which has historically been a time when retailers can pad their bottom-line at the end of the year.
Toys ‘R’ Us has seen its popularity fall since the 1980s and ‘90s, when it began losing customers to big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Target, and more recently with the advent of online shopping giants like Amazon.