NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Toys ‘R’ Us says its 1,600 locations will remain open despite filing for bankruptcy protection.

The move comes as the giant retailer faced deadlines to pay off hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.

The company, which is struggling with $5 billion in long-term debt, will now try to restructure its finances.

The Wayne, New Jersey-based company announced the filing late Monday, saying it voluntarily is seeking relief in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond — and that its Canadian subsidiary is seeking similar protection through a Canadian court.

Filing for bankruptcy protection “will provide us with greater financial flexibility to invest in our business — and strengthen our competitive position in an increasingly challenging and rapidly changing retail marketplace worldwide,” Chairman and CEO Dave Brandon said in the announcement.

The company said it expects to continue honoring return policies, warranties and gift cards, and customer loyalty programs should stay the same.

In a separate statement late Monday, the company said its online sales sites worldwide remain open for business during the court-supervised process.

The company has nearly 65,000 employees worldwide.

The move comes at a critical time leading into the holiday season that is crucial to retailers’ bottom lines. The company said it was “well stocked as we prepare for the holiday season and are excited about all of our upcoming in-store events.”

Retailers of all kinds are struggling. The Toys `R’ Us bankruptcy filing joins a list of at least 18 others since the beginning of the year — including shoe chain Payless Shoe Source, children’s clothing chain Gymboree Corp. and the True Religion jean brand — as people shop less in stores and more online.

Toys `R’ Us, a major force in toy retailing in the 1980s and early 1990s, started losing shoppers to discounters like Walmart and Target and then to Amazon. GlobalData Retail estimates that in 2016 about 13.7 percent of toy sales were made online, up from 6.5 percent five years ago.

And children are increasingly moving more toward mobile devices as playthings.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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