The global brand Toys R Us is in trouble. All American and UK stores are going to be closed in the coming months. It is a devastating move that will leave thousands of people without jobs.
When the US arm of Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September last year it was positioned as a move to restructure the business, not a step towards shutting it down. We were told that the move wouldn’t impact the Australian operation. We now know that the restructuring either didn’t happen or didn’t work and now the stores are closing.
The closure of all of the UK and US stores has huge implications for the Australian business. According to financial reports Toys ‘R’ Us Australia lost $7.6 million in the 12 months to January 28, 2017. The year before that was a $9 million loss. The Australian business’ most recent financial statements and reports, filed in June 2016, warn that its future relied on the financial support of its American parent company. That American company is closing all of it’s stores.
In an attempt to ease growing concerns Toys R Us Australia have issued a statement on their Facebook page. It reads;
To our Valued Customers
While we are saddened by the news regarding our U.S. operations, in Australia we remain committed to delivering the best products, services and experiences possible to the many Toys”R”Us kids who have supported our business throughout the past 25 years.
We are working through a range of options for our business locally and as always will relentlessly strive towards bringing fun, joy and happiness to the hearts and minds of our customers for many more years to come.
Our stores remain open and our amazing staff are ready to serve you!
Our Gift Cards, VIP club points, Layby, returns policy and other services remain unchanged, however if you have any worries at all please reach out to our customer service team for more information.
There is one line in this statement that particularly stands out – “We are working through a range of options”. Obviously we have no way of knowing what those options are but in light of what is happening in the rest of the world it would be naive to think that closure wasn’t at least a possibility.
Should you be avoiding shopping at Toys R Us? I don’t think so. If you are buying LEGO there is no real concern about the store you buy it from closing down. Missing and broken parts can be handled by LEGO directly. The only thing I would say is that maybe it’s an idea to be cautious with gift cards and lay-bys. Those are always the things that catch people out when a store closes. If Toys R Us Australia does go into administration your gift cards may instantly become worthless.
Toys R Us Australia reportedly employs over 2,700 people in Australia. My thoughts are with those people and I honestly hope that Toys R Us Australia can find a solution to this difficult situation.