Toy retailer Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. yesterday asked a bankruptcy court for approval to stop paying all of its suppliers while it tries to line up buyers for its international business ahead of a planned liquidation of its U.S. operations, Reuters reported. The iconic toy store’s plan to liquidate inventory and shutter or sell its U.S. stores has put 30,000 jobs at risk and left vendors wondering where to send merchandise stuck on ships and trucks, and whether their invoices will ever get paid, lawyers said at a court hearing on yesterday. As shoppers flock to Amazon.com Inc and children choose smartphones and screens over toys, Toys ‘R’ Us has struggled to boost sales and service debt following a $6.6-billion leveraged buyout by private equity firms in 2005. At a hearing at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia, Toys ‘R’ Us lawyer Joshua Sussberg said that the company was working to avoid any contagion from the U.S. liquidation on the foreign businesses it is trying to sell. Part of that effort means separating the U.S. business from foreign operations to ensure that shipments can reach stores in Canada, Europe and Asia, where the company will be reviewing bid proposals in coming weeks. Read more.
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