US toy retail giant Toys R Us files for bankruptcy in US, Canada

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

On Monday night, New Jersey, US-based toy retail giant Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in the US as well as in Canada. The retailer filed it from Richmond, Virginia for Chapter 11 bankruptcy code in the US, and a judge allowed a loan of over US$2 billion.

According to the filing, the retail chain owns US$6.6 billion in assets, but has a debt of US$7.9 billion. They were under a roughly US$5 billion debt since the company underwent a three-way acquisition in 2005. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital, and Vornado Realty Trust acquired Toys R Us for around US$7 to US$7.5 billion. After the US judge approved a loan, Toys R Us received about US$3 billion from the lenders to continue the business and survive a competitive market, and restructure their business model. E-commerce giant Amazon.com, Walmart and Target are some of the competitors for the conventional 'brick and mortar' toy shop, with lower priced-merchandise and fast, cheap delivery. In a conference call in June, CEO Dave Brandon said "very, very aggressive pricing online" was causing problems. He also said the company was experiencing "significant weakness in demand for their products globally". Toys R Us are to clear a debt of US$400 million by May 2018.

Toys R Us said they would continue to operate for the holiday season. Bankruptcy lawyer Jeff Gleit said Toys R Us "need to do both a financial restructuring as well as an operational restructuring" and "needs to modernize with the times". Last holiday season, Toys R Us made sales around US$4.5 billion. Overall, the company reported a US$29 million loss in 2016. CEO Brandon said, "Our objective is to work with our debt holders and other creditors to restructure the US$5 billion of long-term debt on our balance sheet, which will provide us with greater financial flexibility to invest in our business".

Toys R Us employs more than 60 thousand people in 38 countries around the world in more than 1600 stores. The company's stocks fell by six percent after filing for Chapter 11 protection. US bankruptcy code Chapter 11 allows the company to restructure under a plan approved by the court. The company would also be shielded from creditors' claims during the process. For the stores located in Canada, Toys R Us filed bankruptcy in Ontario and are to undergo reorganisation. However, 259 stores located outside the US or Canada will not undergo reorganisation, the company said.

Over 300 US-based retailers have filed for bankruptcy this year, and hundreds of stores closed.


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