Toys R Us stores in the islands to close their doors in May

Toys R Us to employees: All US stores will close or be sold
Published: Mar. 14, 2018 at 4:12 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 18, 2018 at 10:16 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Toys R Us stores in Hawaii will be closed May 14, and 48 employees have been given termination notices, state Department of Labor filings say.

There are four Toys R Us- or Babies R Us-branded stores in the islands, with the largest at Pearlridge Center.

The chain, which delighted generations of American kids who vowed to "never grow up," announced Wednesday that it planned to close or sell all of its U.S. stores in the coming months.

The 60-year-old brand has 800 locations nationwide and more than 30,000 employees.

In Hawaii, shoppers were saddened by the news of the closure.

"I just told my son the news today as well and he was really sad as well cause we come here all the time and he has a lot of fun," said resident Joy Kaopuiki. "Just to see the different kinds of toys. His reaction was, 'Oh no ... where we gonna get all our toys now?'"

Shopper Amelia Torres added, "We don't have that many toy stores here in Hawaii so it's sad to hear that they're going to close it."

Officials haven't said when stores will begin to liquidate, and Toys R Us hasn't said if all stores nationwide will close at the same time.

The news about the closure was delivered over a conference call, and comes as a number of household name brands face mounting competition from online sales and big box retailers.

The U.S. branch of Toys R Us had hoped to find a buyer or work out a debt restructuring deal. And while a buyer might still come through, hopes of that happening are dimming.

Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy protection in September, and announced a major restructuring deal in January amid slumping sales.

Despite its financial woes, Toys R Us is still a major player in toy sales, accounting for about 15 percent of U.S. toy revenue, Bloomberg reports.

The toy industry is faltering nationally because of the rise of video games and other high-tech toys that kids are turning to instead of action figures, dolls and board games. Amazon has also helped push toy prices lower, hurting not only Toys 'R' Us, but Target and Walmart toy sales as well.

It wasn't too long ago that Toys R Us was booming. Children of the 90s flocked to the store, known for its catching jingle — "I don't want to grow up, I'm a Toys R Us kid." Back then, the company's flagship store was in Times Square. Today, that space is home to an Old Navy, according to the Washington Post.

This story will be updated.

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