Toys R Us closing 12 N.J. stores in latest overhaul

Toys R Us, which is restructuring through the bankruptcy process, announced Wednesday that it is closing 180 stores around the country, including 12 in New Jersey.

In a letter emailed to customers, Chairman and CEO Dave Brandon said the changes are part of an overhaul of the Wayne-based toy retail business.

“Our primary focus is on reimagining our business with you in mind,” the letter read. “We want to make it easier for you to shop with us, whether online or in our stores. This past season, we were successful in accomplishing this objective for millions of customers. However, there were also far too many transactions where this wasn’t the case — due to our operational missteps.

“As the leader of this company, I want you to know that we can and will address the gaps in the experience that you may have had when shopping this holiday. My team is already hard at work to make the improvements necessary to ensure that we have the products you want, when, where and how you want them.”

The New Jersey stores closing as part of the changes include:

  • Bridgewater (designated as Babies R Us);
  • Burlington (Toys R Us);
  • Cherry Hill (Babies R Us);
  • East Hanover (Babies R Us);
  • Eatontown (Toys R Us);
  • Elizabeth/KidsWorld (side-by-side Toys R Us and Babies R Us);
  • Mount Olive (Babies R Us);
  • North Brunswick (Babies R Us);
  • Paramus (Babies R Us);
  • Phillipsburg (side-by-side);
  • Union (Babies R Us);
  • Wayne (Toys R Us).

The company said it also expects to convert a number of locations into combination Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores. It said closures are planned between early February and mid-April, with most slated for mid-April.

“The reinvention of our brands requires that we make tough decisions about our priorities and focus,” Brandon said in the letter. “To that end, and following a top-to-bottom assessment of our business, we have decided to close a number of our U.S. stores. … The actions we are taking are necessary to give us the best chance to emerge from our bankruptcy proceedings as a more viable and competitive company that will provide the level of service and experience you should expect from a market leader.”

The particular closures are pending court approval, Toys R Us said.