Nation & World

Furniture retailers, discounters pick up Toys 'R' Us stores

Fifty-three sites were sold at auction

Chicago Tribune

Ashley Furniture won this empty Toys “R” Us store in Chicago in a recent auction of 53 locations.
Chicago Tribune Ashley Furniture won this empty Toys “R” Us store in Chicago in a recent auction of 53 locations.

Many Toys “R” Us stores are still conducting going-out-of-business sales. But as the toy chain sells off the last of its merchandise, it’s also begun selling its stores.

The bidders in early store auctions give a look at the kinds of stores that will fill the empty properties Toys “R” Us leaves behind. Retailers including Aldi, Burlington and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet were among the winners in an auction of 53 stores, according to bankruptcy court records filed June 13.

Ashley Furniture was the winning bidder for a store on Western Avenue in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, and Big Lots claimed a Springfield, Ill., store, subject to bankruptcy court approval. In other cases, shopping center landlords bought back properties, including stores in Springfield and Rockford.

Winning retailers include chains that need the spacious big-box stores Toys “R” Us occupied and discount or off-price companies that have been expanding and opening new stores.

Wayne, N.J.-based Toys “R” Us had 735 U.S. stores nationwide when it announced plans to liquidate its domestic business in March after filing for bankruptcy protection last fall.

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