Toys'R'Us to begin shutting all United Kingdom stores as hundreds face redundancy


Toys "R" Us Inc. told employees Wednesday the struggling big-box retailer will sell or close all its USA stores, a collapse that threatens up to 33,000 Americans jobs in the coming months.

Started in 1948 amid the postwar United States economic boom, Toys "R" USA has 881 stores in U.S. territories and almost 65,000 employees globally, according to the company's most recent press release last month.

25 stores will close this week, with the other 75 to follow.

The retailer's collapse, just weeks after apparently agreeing a rescue deal, put 3,000 jobs at risk.

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The Canadian arm filed for creditor protection in September, a day after the USA division filed for bankruptcy.

The administrators, Simon Thomas and Arron Kendall, partners in Moorfields Advisory Limited, said today (Wednesday 14 March), said that they had tried to find a buyer for all or part of the business.

The company, which is owned by the private equity firms Bain Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, has been hampered by the debt load it was saddled with by the real estate firm Vornado Realty Trust, which bought Toys "R" Us in 2005.

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Toys R Us, once the country's preeminent toy retailer, has been unable to keep up with big-box and online competitors.

The Toys "R" Us branch in Reading opened before Christmas in 2017, after moving from its original store in Kenavon Drive, where 765 homes are being built.

Toys R Us has been in business for over 60 years.

The likely liquidation of Toys R Us, the nation's largest independent toy seller, could add stress for the companies that make toys and games, and mean changes for the owners of the strip malls where most of its stores are. The company said some buyers were interested in purchasing Toys R Us, but the company didn't receive any formal bids.

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The toy company, which has 11 stores in Scotland, will start the redundancy process on Wednesday. It's now thought that the chain of toy stores might decide to liquidate all its USA shops.