NEW YORK - Toys R Us Inc said on Wednesday that it would hire about 35,000 seasonal workers for its U.S. stores as it prepares for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

The U.S.-based specialty toy retailer, which runs its namesake and Babies R Us stores, said the number was the same as in the holiday periods for the past two years.

Toys R Us, like many retailers, has been ramping up its plans for the holidays, which draw a huge number of shoppers and can amount for a lion's share of sales.

It has already planned to open nearly 350 pop-up toy stores in malls and shopping centers and within some Babies R Us stores to bolster sales.

Toys R Us also bought rival FAO Schwarz earlier this year and recently announced that it is offering to buy all minority shares it does not already own in Toys R Us - Japan. (Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman in Seattle, editing by Dave Zimmerman)