Toys R Us to close 180 stores -- including two in Kansas

People walk past a Toys R Us store in Times Square in New York

The plan had been to take the company public again, but weak sales have prevented that from happening.

Big-box retailer Toys "R" Us said Wednesday it is closing more than 180 stores around the country, and four of those are in Minnesota.

Toys R Us will reduce its number of stores by about 20 percent, or some 6.9 million square feet, if all 182 stores are closed.

Fixing the store experience and giving shoppers more reason to buy is critical, said Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of TTPM.com, a toy review site. The closures also include some Babies R Us stores.

Toys R Us has been hurt by a shift to mobile devices as well, which take up more and more play time.

"Toys R' Us have been a part of my life since I've been a child and we come every week, just to come and just check out the toys", he said.

The Wayne, New Jersey-based company has been challenged in recent years by online retailers like Amazon and larger chains like Walmart, the Associated Press noted.

China rebukes U.S. military for alleged close encounter in South China Sea
The South China Sea has crucial shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds and potential oil, gas and other mineral deposits. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims in the waters.

The Babies R Us store at Hamburg will close, according to a list of almost 200 USA stores to be closed. That's about one-fifth of the company's U.S locations.

The decision Tuesday gives Toys R Us the option to extend that deadline further, with the consent of landlords.

Brandon also said that some of the remaining locations will be converted to co-branded Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores.

"I grew up coming to this store", he said. Being saddled with debt meant Toys "R" Us couldn't invest the way it needed to invest to pull ahead.

It was reported in December that the retailer would close as many as 200 stores.

The toy industry has been hampered by lower sales for the past few quarters in the face of growing demand for other forms of entertainment, including video games, MP3 players, tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices.

Small-format toy stores, like Mastermind Toys in Canada, are eating into Toys "R" Us sales. Shares of both Mattel Inc. and Hasbro Inc. slipped in early trading.

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