09/21/2017 14:34 EDT | Updated 09/21/2017 15:39 EDT

Toys 'R' Us Canada Plans Hiring Spree After Creditor Protection

The retailer may be bankrupt, but it's not out of business.

Toys "R" Us Canada may have followed its U.S. parent company into creditor protection this week, but the company is planning a hiring spree for the holiday shopping period all the same.

"We are preparing for the busy holiday season as planned, which includes hiring seasonal employees," said Clint Gaudry, vice-president of marketing and store planning for Toys "R" Us Canada.

"In fact, this year we are looking forward to our first National Hiring Day on Oct. 17 where we hope to meet many potential new team members."

The company did not say how many people it plans to hire in Canada.

The U.S. parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Monday, and the Canadian division filed for creditor protection on Wednesday.

In a statement on its website this week, the Canadian division said it will be "continuing normal operations" as it goes through financial restructuring.

At the heart of the issue is debt. The New Jersey-based company had accumulated US$5 billion (C$6.16 billion) in debt, which, according to court filings, was costing the company US$400 million annually in debt payments.

Leon Neal via Getty Images
A Toys R Us location in Luton, England, on Sept. 19. The company is planning a hiring spree for the busy holiday shopping season, including in Canada, despite filing for creditor protection this week.

News reports earlier this month speculating that the company may be going bankrupt made business partners nervous. Some suppliers began demanding cash payment on delivery, the company said in court documents.

The company said on Monday it had secured US$3.1 billion (C$3.8 billion) in new financing which will allow it to continue operations into the holiday season.

In the U.S., Toys "R" Us plans to hire more than 12,500 for the top six markets, including Groveport, Ohio, where it will be looking to staff more than 2,400 for its distribution facility that handles online orders. It hired more than 10,900 workers for the top five markets a year ago.

It declined to offer actual overall hiring figures for the holiday season, but in the past, overall holiday hiring was about 40,000.

— With a file from The Associated Press

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