2 Louisville area Toys R Us stores to close

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB/AP) -- Toy shopping will soon be a little less fun as two Louisville-area Toys R Us stores are among 180 stores slated to close.

According to court documents, the toy giant is closing its stores on Shelbyville Road in St. Matthews and at Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville. A location in Lexington will also close. 

Hobbled by $5 billion in debt, the company that once dominated toy sales in the U.S. filed for bankruptcy protection in September.

Chairman and CEO Dave Brandon said in a letter Wednesday that tough decisions are required to save Toys R Us.

Toys R Us operates about 900 stores in the U.S.

The store closings will begin in February and the majority of the targeted locations will go dark by mid-April. At some other locations, the retailer is combining its Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores. Brandon said the stores that are closing will be offering deep discounts.There's no word yet on when the local stores will close.

Toys R US isn't alone. About three dozen retailers sought bankruptcy protection last year due in large part to a radical shift in consumer behavior, both in where they shop, and what they buy. Some of the retailers that have gone under have been small, but there are also big names on the list, like Payless Shoe Source, Gymboree Corp. and True Religion jeans.

Toys R Us closed its flagship store in Manhattan's Times Square, a huge tourist destination, about two years ago.

Brandon said Wednesday that the company made some missteps during the critical holiday shopping season.

"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," Brandon said. "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."

Toys R Us is based in Wayne, New Jersey.

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