CHICAGO (CBS) — Toys R Us, operating under bankruptcy protection since the fall, has announced it will close up to 20 percent of its stores, as it seeks to restructure its business under increasing competition from online retailers.
In a Bankruptcy Court filing, the company said it could close up to 182 underpeforming Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores while working to increase online sales. Toys R Us operates about 900 stores in the U.S., including Babies R Us locations
Seven Chicago area stores could be among those that would close:
• Highland Park, 1610 Deerfield Rd.
• Schaumburg, 16 E Golf Rd
• Vernon Hills, 295 Center Dr
• Matteson, 5001 Lincoln Hwy
• Bricktown Square, 6420 W. Fullerton Av., Chicago
• Burbank, 7750 S Cicero Av.
• Niles, 5660 Touhy Av.
Toys R Us has not finalized its plans for how many stores will be shuttered, but closings will begin in February, with most stores going dark by April. The bankruptcy court must approve the closings.
The company hasn’t said how many jobs will be cut if all 182 stores are closed. According to court documents, some employees would be moved to other stores.
The Toys R Us closings would be especially hard on Matteson, which also recently learned it would be losing its Sam’s Club store, effective Friday.
The owner of a nearby store, Beauty and Wig, said that shop is closing and moving to a different location, because it has been losing business as more and more people shop online.
Matteson Mayor Sheila Chalmers-Currin said she was disappointed to learn the village’s store soon will close, saying Matteson is aggressively recruiting businesses to occupy the vacant land that would be left by Toys R Us and Sam’s Club.
“The rise of ecommerce outlets like Amazon has made it harder for traditional retailers to attract customers to their stores and forced companies to change their sales strategies. Many companies have turned to sales promotions and increased digital efforts to lure shoppers while shutting down brick-and-mortar locations,” she said in a statement. “While the closures are disheartening, we are not discouraged. The area economy has remained stable and strong. The problem is not Matteson, but rather the corporations that have not modified their business models to the ever changing consumer purchasing trends. This is not an indication of Matteson. Matteson remains a leader in economic growth within the Southland.”
Chalmers-Currin said Pete’s Fresh Market recently announced it will move into a shuttered Dominick’s store.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)