By Pádraig Hoare
Embattled retailer, Toys R Us, will close all its stores in Britain and the North. It has failed to find a buyer
Around 120 jobs will be lost in the North, where the New Jersey-headquartered company has four stores. 3,000 jobs will be lost overall in the UK.
In December, the company had said that, as part of bankruptcy proceedings in the US, its stores in Newtonabbey and Derry would close in the spring of 2018.
But it said it would keep open its stores in Sprucefield and Belfast’s Castle Court centre, closing 26 stores in Britain and the North overall.
However, all 75 Toys R Us UK stores will disappear within six weeks, joint administrators have said.
The administrators for the retailer said they had not been able to find a buyer for all, or part of, the business.
The UK arm of Toys R Us entered administration in February, sunk by weak consumer sentiment, the growth of online sales, and currency swings as a result of Brexit.
The retailer’s US parent company is also suffering in its home market, with reports that it is preparing for potential liquidation, six months after filing for bankruptcy.
“This process attracted some interest, but, ultimately, no party has been able to move forward with a formal bid, prior to the expiration of the stated deadline,” joint administrator, Simon Thomas, a partner at corporate advisory and restructuring firm, Moorfields, said.
The administrators said they remained open to interest from potential buyers.
Shoppers were urged by the administrators to “take advantage of special offers, while stocks remain high”.
The collapse comes at a tough time for retailers on the high street.
More than 140 jobs at Maplin Electronics stores, in the Republic and the North, are under threat, after an administrator was appointed to its 217 stores across the UK and Ireland last month.
Maplin has 80 staff at its six stores in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Dundalk, and Limerick, while there are 60 staff in five stores in the North, in Belfast, Coleraine, and Derry. It has 5,000 staff.
Additional reporting Reuters