Toys R Us says it will be closing some U.S. stores and converting others to cobranded locations as it continues to deal with its financial restructuring following its bankruptcy filing. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Two Toys R Us locations in Mississippi are closing, joining some 180 stores the toy retailer said it was shuttering.
The location in Tupelo, which also includes a Babies R Us, is NOT on the list of stores to close.
The Mississippi locations being closed are in Meridian and Pearl.
According to the Associated Press, the closures represent about 20 percent of its U.S. locations.
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.
Toys R Us, based in Wayne, New Jersey, has struggled with debt since private-equity firms Bain Capital, KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust took it private in a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout in 2005. The plan had been to take the company public again, but weak sales have prevented that from happening. With such debt levels, Toys R Us has not had the financial flexibility to invest in its business.
While its numbers have been shrinking, Toys R Us still sells about 20 percent of the toys bought in the U.S. according to Stephanie Wissink, an analyst at Jefferies LLC.