FILE PHOTO - A man passes by Toys R Us store at Times Square in New York, U.S., March 9, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo
The company has struggled to service debt from a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout by private equity firms and a real estate investor in 2005. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Closure of Toys 'R' Us US stores puts 33,000 jobs at risk



Bankrupt Toys ‘R’ Us is preparing to sell or close all 885 stores in its US chain, risking up to 33,000 jobs, after failing to reach a deal to restructure billions of dollars in debt, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

With shoppers flocking to online platforms like Amazon and children choosing electronic gadgets over toys, the company has struggled to service debt from a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout by private equity firms KKR & Co and Bain Capital and real estate investor Vornado Realty Trust in 2005.

Toys ‘R’ Us had been closing one-fifth of its US stores as part of efforts to emerge from one of the largest ever bankruptcies by a specialty retailer.

But creditors decided they can get more from liquidating assets of the toy seller, the largest in the United States and one of the best known in the world, rather than finding a way to keep the business alive, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the private negotiations.

A Toys ‘R’ Us spokeswoman declined to comment.

The company is expected to make a filing with the bankruptcy court late on Wednesday, the person said.

The planned closure in coming months is a blow to generations of consumers and hundreds of toy makers that sold products at the chain, including Barbie maker Mattel, board game company Hasbro and other large vendors such as Lego.

In Britain, the remaining 75 Toys ‘R’ Us shops will close within six weeks, joint administrators for the retailer said earlier on Wednesday, after they were unable to find a buyer for all or part of the business, resulting in the loss of about 3,000 jobs.

The Wall Street Journal earlier on Wednesday reported that Toys 'R' Us Chief Executive David Brandon told US staff about the likely closures on a conference call.

Efforts to restructure collapsed this month after lenders decided, absent a clear reorganization plan, they could recover more by closing stores and raising money from merchandise sales, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

“It’s a relentlessly difficult retail environment for mall-based retailers. There just aren’t the same feet coming through the doors,” said Brian Davidoff, a financial restructuring lawyer.

More than 8,000 US retail stores closed in 2017, roughly double the average annual store closures in the previous decade, according to data from the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Toys 'R' Us is also likely to liquidate in France, Spain, Poland and Australia, Mr Brandon said, according to The Wall Street Journal. It quoted Mr Brandon as adding that the retailer also planned to sell operations in Canada, Central Europe and Asia.

Toys ‘R’ Us was already working with liquidators Tiger Capital Group, Great American Group, Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners on previously announced store closures, and the four are expected to continue with the additional closings, sources said.

The future of the retailer’s big-box shops, many located in strip centres, was uncertain.

The disappearance of Toys ‘R’ Us in the US and the UK leaves a void for hundreds of toy makers that relied on the chain as a top customer alongside WalMart and Target.

Shares in Mattel, the world’s largest toymaker, and number two US toymaker Hasbro tumbled last week on liquidation reports. Both companies rely on Toys ‘R’ Us for roughly 10 per cent of their revenues, according to their 2016 annual reports.

The liquidation will be more painful for small, independent toy makers that relied on the chain as a major showcase, said Lutz Muller, president of consultancy Klosters Trading.

“A large number will go to the wall,” Mr Muller said.

SPECS

Engine: 2-litre direct injection turbo
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Power: 261hp
Torque: 400Nm
Price: From Dh134,999

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 

Results

5.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (Turf) 1,400m; Winner: Mcmanaman, Sam Hitchcock (jockey), Doug Watson (trainer)

6.05pm: Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Bawaasil, Sam Hitchcott, Doug Watson

6.40pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (Dirt) 1,400m; Winner: Bochart, Fabrice Veron, Satish Seemar

7.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (T) 1,200m; Winner: Mutaraffa, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

7.50pm: Longines Stakes – Conditions (TB) Dh120,00 (D) 1,900m; Winner: Rare Ninja, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer

8.25pm: Zabeel Trophy – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh120,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Alfareeq, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

9pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (T) 2,410m; Winner: Good Tidings, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

9.35pm: Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (T) 2,000m; Winner: Zorion, Abdul Aziz Al Balushi, Helal Al Alawi

 

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Power: 240hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 390Nm at 3,000rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh122,745

On sale: now

MATCH INFO

What: 2006 World Cup quarter-final
When: July 1
Where: Gelsenkirchen Stadium, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Result:
England 0 Portugal 0
(Portugal win 3-1 on penalties)

MATCH INFO

Bangla Tigers 108-5 (10 ovs)

Ingram 37, Rossouw 26, Pretorius 2-10

Deccan Gladiators 109-4 (9.5 ovs)

Watson 41, Devcich 27, Wiese 2-15

Gladiators win by six wickets

Key figures in the life of the fort

Sheikh Dhiyab bin Isa (ruled 1761-1793) Built Qasr Al Hosn as a watchtower to guard over the only freshwater well on Abu Dhabi island.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab (ruled 1793-1816) Expanded the tower into a small fort and transferred his ruling place of residence from Liwa Oasis to the fort on the island.

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Shakhbut (ruled 1818-1833) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further as Abu Dhabi grew from a small village of palm huts to a town of more than 5,000 inhabitants.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Shakhbut (ruled 1833-1845) Repaired and fortified the fort.

Sheikh Saeed bin Tahnoon (ruled 1845-1855) Turned Qasr Al Hosn into a strong two-storied structure.

Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa (ruled 1855-1909) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further to reflect the emirate's increasing prominence.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan (ruled 1928-1966) Renovated and enlarged Qasr Al Hosn, adding a decorative arch and two new villas.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan (ruled 1966-2004) Moved the royal residence to Al Manhal palace and kept his diwan at Qasr Al Hosn.

Sources: Jayanti Maitra, www.adach.ae

Results

Women finals: 48kg - Urantsetseg Munkhbat (MGL) bt Distria Krasniqi (KOS); 52kg - Odette Guiffrida (ITA) bt Majlinda Kelmendi (KOS); 57kg - Nora Gjakova (KOS) bt Anastasiia Konkina (Rus)

Men’s finals: 60kg - Amiran Papinashvili (GEO) bt Francisco Garrigos (ESP); 66kg - Vazha Margvelashvili (Geo) bt Yerlan Serikzhanov (KAZ)

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5


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