Bethany Clough

Big Lots wants to snag the Fresno Toys R Us store

The Toys R Us store on West Shaw Avenue in Fresno is midway through its going-out-of-business sale. Big Lots is bidding on the location in bankrutpcy court.
The Toys R Us store on West Shaw Avenue in Fresno is midway through its going-out-of-business sale. Big Lots is bidding on the location in bankrutpcy court. bclough@fresnobee.com

Big Lots is hoping to take over the Toys R Us store in Fresno.

Toys R Us is bankrupt and is closing all its stores. The store at 3520 W. Shaw Ave. is already well into its going-out-of-business sale. Similar sales have started at the Clovis Toys R Us and the Babies R Us on North Blackstone Ave., which is owned by Toys R Us and is also closing.

Several national media outlets reported this week that a handful of big-name retailers and real-estate investment groups are bidding for the Toys R Us properties in bankruptcy court.

Big Lots is bidding on five stores, including the one in Fresno, and other stores outside California, according to CNBC. An auction happens Thursday and Toys R Us debtors have until April 12 to finalize a sale.

Big Lots has a store that's less than a mile away on Shaw Avenue and could be eying the new property as a place to move into. Big Lots has three other stores in Fresno and Clovis.

Typically in situations like this, other retailers are interested in the property, whether it's leased or owned, said Riley Walter, a Fresno bankruptcy attorney who is not involved in this deal. Bidders can often score good deals on property when a business is closing.

Bankruptcy documents show Big Lots is bidding on a "ground lease" in Fresno, a lease for the dirt the building sits on. Retailers often build and own the stores on the property, but the land is owned by someone else. When the ground lease expires, the improvements on the land revert back to the land owner.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough
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