Toys ‘R’ Us Files For Bankruptcy But Plans To Keep Stores Open For Holiday Shopping

Image courtesy of JeepersMedia

Well, that was quick: Soon after the rumor mill lit up with the news that Toys ‘R’ Us could be preparing to file for bankruptcy, the debt-strapped toy chain has gone ahead and done exactly that.

The largest toy store chain in the country filed for Chapter 11 protection [PDF] late Monday night, and will also seek protection in parallel proceedings for its Canadian subsidiary.

Toys ‘R’ Us will not be packing up its toys and quitting, however, as the holidays are coming. Instead, it will be restructuring its outstanding debt in an effort to “invest in long-term growth.”

“Today marks the dawn of a new era at Toys’R Us where we expect that the financial constraints that have held us back will be addressed in a lasting and effective way,” said Dave Brandon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

This holiday season will be instrumental in those efforts to stay alive, and the company knows it. To that end, the chain’s approximately 1,600 Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us stores will remain open — at least for now — as well as the brand’s online stores.

“We thank our vendors for their ongoing support through this important season and beyond,” Brandon said. “We also appreciate the strong support our investors have provided over time and the constructive role they are playing in this process that will allow us to create a brighter future for our company.”

Thus far, the company has secured a commitment for more than $3 billion in debtor-in-possession financing from lenders. That financing is still subject to court approval, but it’s good news for suppliers who still want to get paid for all the toys they’re shipping out to stores for the holidays.

“Together with our investors, our objective is to work with our debtholders and other creditors to restructure the $5 billion of long-term debt on our balance sheet,” Brandon said.

In bankruptcy filings [PDF] declaring his support of Chapter 11, Brandon threw in a bit of nostalgia, quoting the chain’s theme song:

Again, as a reminder: It’s a good time to use any gift cards you may have, as a Chapter 11 filing often voids the company’s past gift cards.