All Toys R Us stores expected to close

All of the toy retailer's UK stores are expected to shut their doors in the next six weeks.

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Toys R Us administrator explains why the company was too difficult to sell

All Toys R Us stores in the UK will close in the next six weeks following the chain's collapse into administration.

Attempts to find a buyer for the US retailer's 100 stores in the UK have failed.

Twenty five stores have either closed in recent days or are due to shut by Thursday.

The collapse will put more than 3,000 people out of work as a dismal period for the retail sector continues.

Administrators Moorfields Advisory were appointed last month to start winding down the UK's biggest toy retailer after it struggled to pay a £15m tax bill.

Simon Thomas, joint administrator, said Moorfields' had negotiated with 120 different parties, most of them interested in buying up stock, and half a dozen looking at the whole business. But in the end Mr Thomas said the business had simply proved too hard to sell.

He told the BBC: "Any potential purchaser would have difficulty in sorting things out, for instance getting the rights to use the name, which is held by the American parent.

"In addition there are many services provided within the group by different subsidiaries, so if you take over one part you have to make alternative arrangements or negotiate new terms. Put all that together and becomes very complicated."

Mr Thomas said remaining stock would be discounted further and "it should be an opportunity for people to buy some nice toys at a good price."

The administrators said that Toys R Us had outstanding liabilities of around £300m, including a £70-90m pension fund shortfall.

US Debt

The US parent company filed for bankruptcy in September and reports suggest it may start closing its 800 stores in the US as early as this week.

The business was bought in 2005 by a group of investors including private equity firms Bain Capital and KKR, which loaded it with some $5bn (£3.6bn) in debt. The company was crippled by interest payments which at times reached $400m a year.

In the UK Toys R Us joins a long list of high street retailers including Maplin and Claire's that have run into difficulties this year.

Many have been hit by changes in consumer spending habits, a squeeze on disposable income, higher inflation and the national living wage, and the prospect next month of increases in business rates.

Date: 14 March 2018 | Source: BBC

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