Just last week, both the U.K. and U.S. divisions of Toys R Us announced they would be closing their doors and shutting down all stores for good. Thankfully, it looks like the Canadian division of the famous toy chain will remain open for the foreseeable future.
The announcement was first made in the U.K., where almost 100 Toys R Us stores will be closing immediately in the coming weeks. Following the European branch, the U.S. made a similar announcement last week. The situation south of the border is even more dire, with 800 stores liquidating their assets as the company files for bankruptcy. This revelation comes after the company announced the closing of 182 Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores in January, at that point still hoping to get back some of the sales ground they have lost in recent years to online buying and big box competitors. With the U.S. division’s recent statement that all stores will close, up to 33,000 jobs will be affected.
While Toys R Us is continuing to struggle in Canada as well (the company filed for creditor protection in September 2017 along with the U.S. arm of the company), the 82 Canadian stores will continue with operations for the foreseeable future. Clint Gaudry, VP of marketing and store planning for Toys R Us Canada, says the chain’s locations across Canada will continue to honour existing registries, gift certificates and loyalty point programs. This is good news for Canadian shoppers, whereas in the U.S., many customers and employees are still unsure whether their gift cards will retain any value.
Although competition from online retailers like Amazon and big box stores like Wal-Mart made the survival of Toys R Us difficult, the company has also been incurring debt for years, making it nearly impossible to keep their stores updated with interactive displays and staffed with enough employees to help customers.
A retailer in California is currently bidding on the Canadian branch of Toys R Us, with the potential sale marking a huge step in the right direction for keeping the Canadian stores open and keeping the current staff employed.