For some time now, Toys R Us has been struggling in the United States. Speculation has been rampant on how Canada and U.K operations would fare if the parent went under. Now it is evident that things are afoot.
The 75 Toys R Us in the U.K are biting the dust. Barring a last minute reprieve, they are shutting the doors once they liquidate all their stock. The U.S. operations are indicating they will be shutting down almost everything except for what a potential buyer is willing to keep.
In total, around 800 stores will closed. 200 may be saved if, and this is the surprising part, Canada’s profitable 75 stores stay open and the head office moves to Canada.
The 82 Canadian Toys R Us stores are apparently well managed and the bright light in the company. The fact that the Canadian side of the business can help save 200 stores in the U.S. is a far cry from when Linens and Things went under and the profitable Canadian operation was liquidated with no thought of preserving it.
In Winnipeg Toys R Us has three locations and their operations continue even though Canada is in creditor protection. A number of companies appear to be in the running to buy the Canadian stores and select locations in the U.S. Make no mistake, this will be a devastating loss of about 30,000 workers in the U.S. and a few thousand more in the U.K.
For the sake of the Canadian operations and the possibility of landing the head office of the company entirely, I hope a deal can be made. Some people say that the brick and mortar world of retail is completely gone but there is still evidence that some strong retailers can make it work, especially ones that add pick up and delivery to their service.
This has been a editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations