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Toys R Us refuses to release 2017 USA holiday sales figures

Published on: January 29th, 2018

The decision by the chain marks a break with a longstanding tradition as it prepares to close up to 182 US stores.

Toys R Us is not releasing its holiday sales results, for the first time in at least a dozen years, abandoning a longstanding tradition of letting the business world know how it fared during the two most crucial months of the year.

The move coincides with the company’s decision to close up to 182 American stores.

Employees at the company’s corporate headquarters were called to a staff meeting, at which they were told that Toys R Us was preparing to close 20% of its stores, a move that could cause some 4,550 employees nationwide to lose their jobs. It is alleged that they also learned that the company ended the year with US sales down 9% and online sales down 20%.

Toys R Us would not confirm or deny those numbers. Analysts have been expecting the company’s fourth-quarter sales to be down 5% to 15% due to the impact of the bankruptcy. If holiday sales declined by more than 5%, 2017 will rank as the worst holiday season for Toys R Us in at least a dozen years.

Dave Brandon, the company’s chief executive, wrote in a memo to employees: “I do not believe that holiday 2017 is the new normal for our business. However, it is clear that we must take aggressive action to emerge from bankruptcy before the next holiday season.”

The company also apparently failed to meet the minimum earnings threshold required for executives to collect the $14m in bonuses authuorised by the bankruptcy judge. Toys R Us had to achieve adjusted earnings of $484m for any bonuses to be paid and reach $550m in adjusted earnings for the full $14mto be distributed.

The Toys R Us spokeswoman would not disclose financial results but said she did not believe any corporate executives would be receiving bonuses based on the holiday sales.

 

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