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March 15, 2018 | last updated March 15, 2018 3:57 pm

Maine Mall Toys R Us store among 800 reported to be closing or sold

Photo / Peter Van Allen
Photo / Peter Van Allen
The Babies 'R' Us store located at the Maine Crossing shopping mall, 200 Running Hill Road, South Portland, is among the 182 stores Toys 'R Us announced in January it would be closing nationwide as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plans. The retail chain also announced it planned to close the Toys 'R Us store at 6 Bangor Mall Blvd. in Bangor. News reports this week indicate that the company is now planning to close or sell all of its more than 800 stores across the United States — which, if true, would lead to the closure of the final Toys R Us store in Maine at the Maine Mall.

Numerous press reports have Toys R Us Inc. planning to either close or sell all of its more than 800 stores across the United States — which, if true, would result in the closure of the company's final toy store in Maine at 303 Maine Mall Road in South Portland.

The Wayne, N.J., toy store company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September, had already closed its two other Maine retail stores — the Toys 'R' Us store at 6 Bangor Mall Blvd. in Bangor and the Babies 'R' Us store located at the Maine Crossing shopping mall, 200 Running Hill Road, South Portland — as part of 182 closures nationwide announced on Jan. 23.

Reuters reported Wednesday that Toys R Us Inc.'s plan to sell or close all 885 remaining stores in its U.S. chain puts at risk up to 33,000 jobs. Reuters reported that creditors apparently decided they can get more from liquidating assets of the toy seller rather than finding a way to keep the business alive.

USA Today reported Thursday afternoon that the company said in a U.S. Bankruptcy court filing early Thursday that it must close all its stores, adding that at a later hearing Toys R Us said going-out-of-business liquidation sales would begin at all stores immediately.

USA Today also reported that Toys R Us employees will be paid for "no fewer than 60 days" and that gift cards can be redeemed for the next 30 days.

"It's a relentlessly difficult retail environment for mall-based retailers. There just aren't the same feet coming through the doors," said Brian Davidoff, a financial restructuring lawyer, told Reuters.

CNBC reported many Toys R Us stores today are leased back to a separate entity created by the company known as Toys R Us Property Co., or Propco. Real estate investment trusts including Kimco, Brixmor and DDR own a handful of stores, while the remainder are owned directly by Toys R Us, according to CNBC.

Noting that most of the Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations are more than 40,000 square feet in size, with some being more than 65,000 square feet, CNBC reported that real estate analysts believe the most likely scenario for vacated stores would be remodeling for multiple occupants.

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