March 14 (Reuters) - Iconic toy store chain Toys 'R' Us Inc will sell or close all its U.S. stores in the coming months, risking up to 33,000 jobs, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The announcement was made to workers by Chief Executive David Brandon at the toy-store chain's Wayne, New Jersey headquarters, the Journal said.
The closure of Toys 'R' Us is a blow to generations of consumers and hundreds of toy makers that sold their products at the chain's 885 U.S. locations, including Barbie maker Mattel Inc, board game company Hasbro Inc and other large vendors such as Lego.
Toys 'R' Us, which has roughly 33,000 full- and part-time U.S. employees, was already in the process of closing one fifth of its stores as part of efforts to emerge from one of the largest ever bankruptcies by a specialty retailer.
Efforts collapsed this month after lenders decided, absent a clear reorganization plan, they could recover more in a liquidation, closing stores and raising money from merchandise sales, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
"I have always believed that this brand and this business should exist in the U.S.," Brandon said on a conference call with staff, the Wall Street Journal said.
The retailer is likely to liquidate in France, Spain, Poland and Australia, Brandon said, according the newspaper. He added that Toys 'R' Us also planned to sell operations in Canada, Central Europe and Asia.
Toys 'R' Us is trying to package its Canadian business with 200 U.S. stores and find a buyer, the CEO said, according to the Journal.