Executives at Toys R Us told their employees today that the company will sell or close all of its more than 700 remaining stores in the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal. The move could put up to 33,000 Americans out of work.
The Journal said that the news came directly from CEO David Brandon, who delivered the news via conference call.
“I have always believed that this brand and this business should exist in the U.S.,” Brandon said. Suppliers who abandoned the chain over the holidays, as well as customers who chose to shop elsewhere, “will all live to regret what’s happening here.”
News of Toys R Us’ financial troubles came in September when the company filed for bankruptcy protections. In January came the announcement of more than 180 store closings. Later, in February, that number was increased to more than 380. While promises of severance benefits for retail workers were broken, a judge allowed the payout of millions in bonuses to the company’s top executives.
It’s expected that Toys R Us will file for liquidation this evening ahead of its bankruptcy court hearing on Thursday. The status of the company’s international retail footprint is unknown at this time.