Toys “R” Us Inc . plans to close another 200 stores and lay off a significant portion of its corporate staff following a disappointing holiday sales season, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Wayne, N.J., retailer recently had announced plans to close about 180 stores, affecting approximately 4,500 workers. The latest wave of closings would cut nearly in half the number of U.S. stores it had before its bankruptcy filing, the people said.
The discussions about the store closings are continuing, and the number of closures could change, the people added.
The company has also walked back from a promise to offer severance to all affected employees. According to internal documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, managers were recently instructed to tell hourly workers that “there are no severance benefits being provided for the store-closing process.” In January, store managers were instructed to tell employees that the company would provide severance to all affected employees, including hourly workers, according to the documents.
After filing for bankruptcy, Toys “R” Us had sought approval to pay millions in incentive bonuses to its top executives. While those bonuses drew opposition from the government’s bankruptcy watchdog, a judge approved the incentive payments in December.
When Toys “R” Us sought bankruptcy protection in September, hobbled with a hefty debt load and struggling with consumers’ shift to online shopping, it had about 1,600 stores worldwide, with roughly 800 in the U.S.
The company had poor holiday sales, during a period that traditionally is considered to be the toy retailer’s most profitable season, the people added.
“As we have shared publicly, our focus is on the reinvention of our business and emergence from chapter 11,” Toys “R” Us spokeswoman Amy von…