S’thorne’s KB Toys store to close
SILVERTHORNE – KB Toys at the Silverthorne Factory Stores will likely close in the next couple months.
The Silverthorne store is one of at least 375 KB stores nationwide slated to close because the chain is on the brink of bankruptcy. Liquidation toy sales are expected.
KB has been victimized by competition from mega-retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target.
The Massachusetts-based toy chain sought bankruptcy protection earlier this month, blaming the Christmas season’s sharp price wars and the effect of large retailers like Wal-Mart.
Corporate headquarters officials in Pittsfield, Mass., said KB Toys will cut 3,500 jobs nationwide, about 29 percent of its work force, and close at least 375 stores.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Joel Rosenthal approved the company’s plans to liquidate up to 490 stores on Wednesday. However, the company said it may close fewer stores than that, depending on whether landlords are willing to re-negotiate leases.
The lease manager of the Silverthorne Factory Stores, Sam Brown, said the KB Toys corporation, including the Silverthorne store, is not renegotiating any leases.
Silverthorne’s KB Toys closure would make the tenth local factory store closure related to corporate chain bankruptcies in the past two years, Brown said.
Six employees in the Silverthorne store will likely be out of work within a couple months.
Next door to the toy store, the Mikasa housewares store and one of the two Samsonite luggage stores will also be closing next month, adding to the storefront vacancy rate at the shopping villages.
TGS Real Estate Investment Trust, the Canadian owner of a majority of the factory stores properties, is planning to rejuvenate the ailing shopping villages in Silverthorne this year.
KB will get 45 percent of the retail price of remaining merchandise, according to the bankruptcy agreement. The company, which has long specialized in shopping mall toy stores, said it planned to file its severance plans for workers separately.
Prior to the proposed reorganization, the privately held KB Toys had 4-5 percent of the U.S. toy business with 12,000 employees and 1,231 stores.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report
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