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Toys R Us to close all stores after failing to find a buyer

PUBLISHED: 12:17 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:33 14 March 2018

The Toys R Us closing down sale has started. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Toys R Us closing down sale has started. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

All Toys R Us stores will close within six weeks and the brand will disappear from the retail world after a last-ditch attempt to save the company failed.

The beleaguered retailer had begun closing-down sales across its sites after it entered administration and yesterday staff were told no buyer has been found for Toys R Us, meaning all stores, including those at Norwich and Ipswich, will close.

It signals the end for a brand which, since coming to the UK in 1985, has induced awe in youngsters with its warehouse-style stores with high shelves stacked full of brightly coloured toys.

But those buildings proved the undoing for the company with the overheads becoming too high in a market in which the familiarity of strong brands meant customers felt at ease shopping online.

Once a “category killer”, driving many independents out of business, Toys R Us has now met the same fate, rendered obsolete by online sellers such as Amazon and Ebay, whose lower costs have driven prices down.

The toy chain appointed Moorfields Advisory to oversee an administration at the end of February after the firm failed to find a last-minute rescuer.

They will now begin a six week “wind-down” of the store estate. Both Norwich and Ipswich branches will remain open until further notice.

Simon Thomas, joint administrator and partner at Moorfields, said: “We have made every effort to secure a buyer for all or part of the company’s business. This process attracted some interest, but ultimately no party has been able to move forward with a formal bid prior to the expiration of the stated deadline.

“It is therefore with great regret that we have made the difficult decision to make a number of positions redundant at the company’s head office in Maidenhead and proceed with a controlled store closure programme. We are grateful for the hard work of Toys R Us staff during this very difficult period and will be providing support where we can to those who have been made redundant.”

The storm clouds had been gathering for some time with a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), a mechanism for struggling businesses to cut debts with their creditors, put in place before Christmas which would have seen the closure of 26 stores.

Poor Christmas trading combined with a large tax bill finally forced the European arm of the business over the edge last month – the same day electronics retailer Maplin also called in administrators.

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Many high street businesses have struggled in recent years, with major chains such as Woolworths and Toys ‘R’ Us disappearing from town centres since the 2008 financial crash, along with many independent traders.

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