Toy retailer’s ‘no comment’ on shop closure reports
RETAIL giant Toys R Us has said it will not comment on rumours it could close a quarter of its UK stores.
The firm said its UK shops’ focus was now on the Christmas period and called the stories, widely reported on Friday, “market speculation”.
Those rumours alleged hundreds of jobs were at risk as the retailer worked on a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), which would mean stores making a loss would be closed.
The reports came just months after the company filed for bankruptcy in the US. Any CVA would need to be signed off by its US parent.
According to the Mirror, reports suggested “at least 25” of the 105 stores across Britain could close, although they are expected to remain open for the busy Christmas period until the New Year and possibly until spring.
If a CVA is filed the company’s staff would remain employed as normal throughout the process.
But a spokeswoman for Toys R Us said: “We don’t comment on rumours or market speculation.
“Our stores in the UK are open as normal and our focus in the coming weeks is very much on the busy Christmas period.
“We continue to provide our customers with a great level of service and the wide range of children’s products they have come to expect from our stores.”
The toy retailer currently employs more than 3,000 people in the UK but if the claims made come to fruition between 500 and 800 could be out of work due to the closures.
The company’s stores in Wales include Parc Tawe in Swansea, Olympian Drive in Cardiff Bay, and Queens Arcade in Cardiff city centre – which only opened in September last year.
But as yet it’s unknown which stores, if any, have been earmarked for closure.
The retailer could announce on Monday it is proposing to launch the CVA, Sky News reported.
Sky said advisers on corporate insolvencies Alvarez and Marshal could handle the process but would need 75% majority approval from Toys R Us creditors.
Gary Grant, managing director of the UK’s biggest independent toy shop, The Entertainer, told the Guardian that if true the news was “terrible” for the industry.
He said: “It’s been a disastrous November for the industry. The high street is having an extremely tough Christmas.
“The stuff [toys] that are hot are hot but the rest is mediocre.”
It comes after it was announced 197 UK-wide NatWest banks, including 20 in Wales, are to close.