Toys ‘R’ Us is returning to the UK

The toy chain went into administration and closed in 2018

Saman Javed
Thursday 28 October 2021 14:34 BST
A Toys ‘R’ Us store in the US
A Toys ‘R’ Us store in the US (Getty Images)

Toys “R” Us is returning to the UK almost four years after closing its doors, the chain store’s parent company has announced.

Founded in the US in 1948, the toy retailer had around 100 stores across the UK before it collapsed into administration in 2018.

Its owners, Toys “R” Us ANZ and WHP Global, have since successfully relaunched the chain and its partner brand, Babies “R” Us, in Australia.

In an announcement on Wednesday, 27 October, WHP said it has signed a “long-term” licence agreement to sell its items in the UK both online and in brick-and-mortar stores.

“Since Toys ‘R’ Us’ return to Australia in June 2019, we have scaled quickly as customers returned to the much-loved brand and our e-commerce model has proven its success,” Dr Louis Mittoni, the CEO and managing director of Toys “R” Us ANZ said.

Despite closing its stores in the UK in 2018, Toys “R” Us stores have remained open in countries across the world in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

WHP said it has a total of 900 stores and e-commerce websites in 25 countries, which generates more than $2 billion (£1.4 billion) a year.

In its announcement, it said Toys “R” Us products will initially be available to UK customers to buy online from its existing operations in Australia.

It hopes to establish physical stores and employ local workers during 2022 and 2023.

According to industry analyst company NPD, sales of toys increased by 15 per cent during the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2020, and 28 per cent compared to 2019.

Its report, which looked at countries including Australia, Canada, China, the UK and the US, found “continuous strong growth for the toy market globally”.

“Even though Covid-19 restrictions are easing in most countries, consumers continue to turn to toys and games for their entertainment,” Frédérique Tutt, global toys industry analyst at NPD said.

“Whether it is collectable cards, building sets or outdoor toys, demand is still very strong, which is promising as the industry is now preparing for the holiday season.”

Toys “R” Us announced that it would close all of its UK stores in March 2018, six weeks after it collapsed into administration and failed to find a buyer.

The closures led to 3,000 people losing their jobs, the BBC reported.

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