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Local Toys R Us stores closing in May

HONOLULU (KHON2) - The last day for Toys R Us locations in Hawaii is May 14. That's according to filings KHON2 obtained from the state Department of Labor.

In a letter to employees, the company said it "sought to develop a durable, compelling business plan that would help it emerge successfully from bankruptcy. Unfortunately, a disappointing holiday sales season in both the U.S. and Europe, coupled with financial requirements...presented challenges that the Company could not overcome." 

The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last fall, saddled with debt that hurt its attempts to compete.

It pledged then to stay open, but had weak sales during the critical holiday season. In January, it announced plans to close about 180 stores.

Toys R Us has been around for more than six decades.

The store at Pearlridge Center opened in 1990.

Customers we spoke to were not surprised to hear of its pending closure, but say they're sad to see it go.

"That’s not good," said Al Simmons. "We come to the store and the kids can see what they can get instead of online. You don’t really know the size and everything you can do with it."

"I’m sad to see it go, but these things have been happening a lot, so I'm kind of just taking it in stride," said Jana Castro.

Tina Yamaki, president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii, says online shopping is one of main reasons so many large chains are closing.

"It’s the convenience of 'I can shop in my pajamas and eat Cheetos in bed at 2 o’clock in the morning,' but they don’t realize when you don’t go into the stores, you're not supporting our local businesses," Yamaki said.

E-commerce isn’t the only factor.

"Minimum wage has gone up a lot, plus health care insurance for employees. These are all factors that add into the cost of doing business, and with business on such a thin margin of profit, it’s really hard to stay open," Yamaki said.

Toys R Us is one of a handful of chains struggling to keep its stores open. In the last 24 months, several closed stores locally, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Bebe, Macy’s, Payless ShoeSource, Radio Shack, and Wet Seal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


CNNMoney (New York) - A favorite shopping destination is closing its doors, and Toys "R" Us shoppers are wondering exactly how it will affect them.

Here's what we know so far.

1. When will Toys "R" Us closing sales begin?

The company has said that a firm timeline has yet to be determined.

There's a bankruptcy hearing on Tuesday where the company can get approval to start steep discounts and hang "Store Closing Sale" signs at most locations, according to Robert LeHane, an attorney representing creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings.

Ray Wimer, an assistant professor of retail practice at Syracuse University, said he expects discounts to start on the low end, around 20% to 30%, but they'll eventually climb to 75% to 80% off.

2. When will Toys "R" Us officially close?

The company could not provide specifics, but liquidation dates may vary across stores.

The last day for Toys R Us locations in Hawaii is May 14 according to state Department of Labor filings.

Bankruptcy attorneys told CNNMoney that most locations will likely shut their doors within the next two months, and Toys "R" Us will pay employees through the next 60 days.

"Based on my experience, they can't survive much longer. They have to pay rent, they can't afford to stay open much longer than that," said Chuck Tatelbaum, a director with Tripp Scott, a Florida law firm.

Toys "R" Us is "holding back" on liquidating about 200 of its best performing US stores in the hopes that it will find a buyer, CEO Dave Brandon told employees. The company has 735 Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores nationwide.

3. What do I do with my Toys 'R' Us gift cards and coupons?

Customers with gift cards or store credit need to act fast. A company spokesperson said rewards dollars, Endless Earnings and gift cards will be honored only for the next 30 days.

Coupons are currently being accepted.

4. I opened up a gift registry at Babies 'R' Us. What do I do now?

The company says it will maintain its online registries and web store for the next "few weeks," Brandon said.

Those assets may be attractive to potential buyers, he explained.

If a buyer "wants to keep a foothold in the US they will likely do that in such a way that they can retain customers, [such as] people involved in our baby registry programs," Brandon told employees.

5. Can I return something to Toys "R" Us or Babies "R" Us?

Any purchases made during the store closing process are final, according to the company. All items purchased before closing sales begin may still be returned at any open location.

But it's unclear whether items purchased in stores will be eligible for return through the Toys "R" Us website after stores are shutdown.

More information is expected in the coming days.


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