Toys R Us December comp sales dip 1.8 pct in U.S.

Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:03pm EST

* U.S. same-store sales falls 1.8 pct

* Total U.S. sales drops 1.9 pct in December

* International same-store sales falls 3.5 pct

Jan 10 (Reuters) - Toys R Us Inc, the world's largest dedicated toy retailer, reported a 1.8 percent decrease in U.S. comparable store sales in December.

The stakes were high for the retailer this holiday season as it has yet to return to being a public company after filing for an initial public offering in May 2010.

The chain, which operates stores under its namesake brand and the Babies R Us and FAO Schwarz labels, rings up more than 40 percent of sales during the holiday season.

Total U.S. sales for the five weeks ended Dec. 29 fell 1.9 percent from a year earlier.

"... December sales were impacted by softness in the overall markets for videogames, electronics and toys, and by the uncertain economic environment in the United States and abroad," Chief Executive Jerry Storch said in a statement.

International same-store sales declined 3.5 percent and total sales fell 4.1 percent in December, hurt by economic weakness in Europe and Japan.

Toys R Us, which was taken private in 2005 by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital and Vornado Realty Trust in a $6.6 billion deal, did not shed any light on the timing of its potential IPO.

The New Jersey-based retailer said same-store sales in the United States fell 4.5 percent in the nine weeks from Oct. 28 to Dec. 29. Total sales fell 4.7 percent during the period.

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