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TRENTON, N.J. - Toys R Us Inc., the second biggest U.S. toy retailer after Wal-Mart Stores, plans to close 64 stores and eliminate 1,900 jobs as part of a plan to cut costs and boost profits, The Associated Press reports. The company also said it is phasing in new designs in some stores and testing new concepts, such as stores that sell groceries or that combine kids and baby apparel and other products with toys.
"The senior management and the middle management all agree it's time to become much more professional, much more streamlined," John Eyler, chairman and chief executive, told analysts in a conference call.
The moves come as the company's earnings have slumped due to the economic slowdown, extensive remodeling costs and fallout from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The company said it will close 27 Toys R Us stores that were making money, but not enough to justify extensive renovations to its latest format, dubbed Mission Possible.
Meanwhile, 37 Kids R Us stores will be closed, but most will become part of a combination store in the nearest Toys R Us location.
The company did not identify which stores are being closed, and said 10 of the Toys R Us stores being closed may be relocated. The company has 1,609 stores under various names overall.
Toys R Us had a third-quarter loss of $44 million, or 22 cents per share, according to the AP. For the first nine months of its fiscal year, the company posted a loss of $91 million, or 46 cents per share.