Toys R Us confirms Ipswich store is to close
All 100 Toys R Us stores in the UK are to close, with the loss of around 3,000 jobs, after administrators admitted defeat in their efforts to find a buyer for the collapsed retailer.
A total of 67 staff at the company’s head office in Maidenhead, Berkshire, have now been made redundant and its store estate – including the branch at the Interchange Retail Park on the edge of Ipswich – will be wound down over the next six weeks, with a closing-down sale under underway.
A total of 25 Toys R Us stores have already closed, or a due to close by the end of trading today, as part of a restructuring plan agreed with creditors in December which also included deals with the Pension Protection Fund and store landlords.
But poor Christmas trading, combined with a £15m VAT bill from HM Revenue & Customs, finally forced the business over the edge last month – on the same day that electronics retailer Maplin, which has a store in Ipswich too, also called in administrators.
Simon Thomas, one of the joint administrators, from Moorfields Advisory, 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.”
The 75 remaining Toys R Us stores, including those in Ipswich and Norwich, will continue to trade for the time being, although the branch in Cambridge closed last Saturday.
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Mr Thomas added: “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 retail sector has had a dismal start to 2018. Besides the collapse of Toys R Us and Maplin, a host of other firms are undergoing painful restructurings, including fashion chain New Look and eateries run by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver as well as the Byron and Prezzo restaurant chains.