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WAYNE, NJ-Faced with wider losses than expected in the third quarter, toy retailer Toys “R” Us, based here, finally pulled the trigger on some long-rumored and anticipated store closings. Company officials have announced that they will close down all 146 Kids “R” Us clothing stores, including 18 in New Jersey, and all 36 Imaginarium educational toy stores, including four in the Garden State.

“The accelerating deterioration in the performance of these stores led us to determine that it’s in the best interests of the company to cease operations,” chairman/CEO John Eyler explained during a conference call. “The results worsened faster than we expected.”

About 3,800 jobs are involved, according to company officials, although many employees may be offered positions in other stores within the 1,600-store chain. Toys employs a total of more than 65,000 worldwide.

In related moves, the company is also shuttering three of its distribution centers, including the one in Saddle Brook, NJ. On the other hand, company officials say they are considering putting Babies “R” Us stores in as many as two dozen of the shuttered Kids “R” Us location. The highly successful “Babies” sells apparel for toddlers. And the company expects to continue selling clothing and educational toys in its Toys “R” Us locations.

Most of the locations are expected to be closed by the end of January, and all of the stores will be vacant by the end of March, company officials say.

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