Feb 28, 2018

Toys R Us and Maplin collapse puts 5,500 jobs at risk

A brutal winter for Britain's consumer economy claimed two high-profile casualties on Wednesday, as the British arm of Toys R Us collapsed into insolvency and a national electronics chain said it, too, had abandoned efforts to reach a rescue deal. Insolvency specialists at Moorfields Advisory on Wednesday began the process of closing the US retailer's British operation, which employs nearly 3,000 people and has an estimated funding shortfall of at least £25m in its pension scheme. The British outpost of Toys R US had been battling to raise cash to pay a tax liability that fell due this week, but the efforts stalled after a number of private equity funds and restructuring specialists walked away, according to people briefed on the talks. Since launching in the US during the post-second world war baby boom of the 1950s, Toys R Us evolved to become a "Category-killing" big-box store chain, and was taken private in 2005 by a consortium of buyout funds that included Bain Capital, KKR and Vornado Realty Trust. Maplin, which has more than 200 stores in the UK and Ireland and employs about 2,500 staff, will continue to trade and remains open for business.

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