Toy re­tailer’s ‘no com­ment’ on shop clo­sure re­ports

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

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.

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