2 Triangle locations to close as Toys R Us shuts down 180 stores across US

Posted January 24, 2018 8:18 a.m. EST
Updated January 24, 2018 6:16 p.m. EST

— Toys R Us is planning to close 180 stores across the country, including two in the Triangle, accounting for about a fifth of its total locations.

The toy store chain plans to close two locations in Durham, located at 7001 Fayetteville St. and 3300 Westgate Dr., though the move still needs court approval, according to CNBC. The company is shuttering stores as part of its restructuring linked to its bankruptcy filing.

One other North Carolina location in Asheville is listed among the closures.

Toys R Us was among 50 retailers to file for bankruptcy last year, just before the holiday season. CNBC reported the toy store is facing increased competition from Amazon, Walmart and Target, and it has struggled to meet consumers' needs online.

The company, which is billions of dollars in debt, says it is looking to restructure and focus heavily on their Babies R Us registry, which they feel gives them a competitive advantage.

While financial experts are not surprised by the closure, many Triangle shoppers were.

Linda Clark drives from Pittsboro to the Durham Toys R Us, often with her grandkids in tow.

"It seems like I can always get something a little bit different here, or they will have what I want here and not hunting around at other stores," Clark said.

Store closings will start in February and the majority of the locations will shut down by mid-April.

"I had heard that there were problems and bankruptcy but I thought this store would survive, but I guess not," Clark said.

Mark Yusko, the CIO and CEO of Morgan Creek Capital Management, said cutting costs is a natural step after bankruptcy.

It will be a rough transition, but he's optomistic.

"I would bet that there's at least one more wave of consolidation here," he said. "But can they remake the brand? Is the brand strong enough? I think it's a pretty good brand."

A spokesperson for the company told WRAL they are trying their best to reassign employees to nearby stores, and the ones who aren't reassigned, will get a severance package.