NEWARK, N.J. — Toys "R" Us Inc. reported a wider loss and lower sales for the first quarter of its fiscal year, traditionally a slow season for the nation's second-biggest toy seller.

The company said Monday that it lost $28 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with a loss of $26 million, or 12 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected a 1 cent loss.

The company said one-time charges, including those associated with closing its Kids "R" Us stores, accounted for about 6 cents of the 13 cent loss. It also noted that an accounting change made the gap between seem wider.

Sales were $2.06 billion for the three months ending May 1, down 2.6 percent from $2.11 billion recorded in the same 2003 period.

"Our juvenile business re- mained strong, and Babies 'R' Us continued to perform well," Chairman John Eyler said.

The first quarter results applied an accounting guideline relating to considerations received from a vendor, and 2003 results were adjusted using that provision for comparison. The provision increased the first quarter 2003 loss by $19 million, or 9 cents a share, to a total of 12 cents, the company said.

"The liquidation of inventories of several competitors contributed to lower than planned toy sales in the first quarter," said chairman and CEO John Eyler. "We effectively improved margins and controlled expenses and inventory levels during the quarter to offset most of the impact of the sales decline in our toy and video game businesses."

The Wayne-based company has "substantial liquidity," Eyler said, pointing to more than $1 billion of cash and cash equivalents on the balance sheet at the end of the quarter.

Shares in the company fell 24 cents, or 1.7 percent, to close at $14.14 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Toys "R" Us operates 1,464 stores worldwide: 681 toy stores in the United States; 579 international toy stores; 200 Babies "R" Us stores and four Geoffrey stores. It also operates four Internet sites. It is closing its eight remaining freestanding Kids "R" Us stores.