Retail chain operator Toys “R” Us Inc. filed a motion seeking bankruptcy court approval to begin the process of winding down its business and liquidating its inventory at 735 U.S. stores Thursday, one day after announcing its plans to shutter all of its locations.
The move will put roughly 33,000 employees out of work nationwide and 326 workers are expected to lose their jobs in Wisconsin, according to a notice filed with the state Department of Workforce Development on Thursday. Toys “R” Us, operates nine stores across Wisconsin, including a store at 3900 S. 27th St. on Milwaukee’s south side, a location on Green Bay Road in Racine, a location in Greendale and one in Pleasant Prairie.
The company is reportedly looking for a plan to save roughly 200 stores if it is able to find a buyer. Toys “R” Us in January began closing about 180 Toys “R” US and Babies “R” Us stores.
Locally, the Brookfield Babies “R” Us store at 18550 W. Bluemound Road and the Babies “R” Us store at 2161 Zeier Road in Madison closed in February.
The Wayne, New Jersey-based retailer is one of the world’s largest toy store chains. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2017.
Mark Greene, chairman of the Madison Economic Development Committee and director at SafetyNet, an income protection insurance provider, said many of the workers affected by the mass closure won’t likely have emergency funds to support themselves.
Greene said many retail employees have less than $1,000 in savings and struggle to pay for unexpected car repairs or unexpected health insurance costs.
“Despite low unemployment, mass layoffs and business closings are a concerning problem in Wisconsin,” Greene said. “Market efficiencies have real human costs: we don’t have to look far to see this play out locally – Gander Mountain, Kmart, Oscar Mayer and Gordy’s – companies that combined let more than 1,600 Wisconsin workers go in 2017.”