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KB TOYS PREPARES TO CLOSE MALL STORE GOING OUT OF BUSINESS.

Byline: Susan Abram Staff Writer

VALENCIA - Following an announcement last month that its parent company had filed for bankruptcy, the KB Toys store inside the Valencia Town Center is one of hundreds closing nationwide.

Dozens of signs declaring ``Everything Must Go,'' and advertising 30 percent to 50 percent off discounts hung all around the shop Monday, which bustled with children and parents sifting through such items as World Wrestling Federation and ``Lord of the Rings'' action figures, computer games and Barbie dolls.

According to KB Toys Inc., based in Pittsfield, Mass., the company is closing 375 stores nationwide as part of its restructuring efforts to ``address financial challenges created primarily by the price war during the 2003 holiday season,'' Michael Glazer, chief executive officer, said in a company statement released last month. ``These stores are underperforming and do not fit with KB Toys' strategic plan.''

Retail and toy experts have said they don't expect KB, whose history dates back more than 80 years, to follow the recently bankrupt FAO Schwartz into closure.

Two stores in the San Fernando Valley already started going-out-of business sales late last month. But 10 stores in the Valley will remain.

A spokesman for KB's Los Angeles district could not be reached for comment Monday, a holiday.

Some shoppers, however, did not seem impressed with the overall discounts even though the line at the cash register snaked back into the aisles.

``They don't have as many options as Toys 'R' Us,'' said Julie Malchus of Saugus. ``The deals are not as low.''

Sheri Wong of Valencia said the only reason she bought toys for her three young boys was that she had gift cards left over from Christmas. Otherwise, she said, the sale-priced items were still more expensive at KB than at big-box discount stores.

``They have a lot of these toys at Target, but there were some deals on electronics,'' Wong said.

Others didn't know the store was closing, and took a stroll around just out of nostalgia.

``It will make a difference when it closes,'' said Delia Gonzalez of Valencia. ``I've been going to the store since it opened when I was little.''

Susan Abram, (661) 257-5257

susan.abram(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

KB Toys in the Valencia Town Center is holding a going-out-of-business sale, a victim of closures from poor sales compared to discount stores during the 2003 holiday season.

David R. Crane/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Feb 17, 2004
Words:405
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