Toys R Us and Maplin collapse into administration

More than 5,500 jobs at risk as the two high-street giants go bust

Toys R Us
Toys R Us has 105 stores in the UK
(Image credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Toys R Us UK and Maplin both went into administration this morning, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Britain’s biggest toy retailer, which employs 3,200 people and has 105 stores nationwide, collapsed following a failed last-minute bid to find to a buyer and pay a £15m VAT bill.

Accountancy firm Moorfields has been appointed to “conduct an orderly winddown” of the store portfolio, and says that all Toys R Us shops will remain open until further notice.

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“Stock will be subject to clearance and special promotions,” said joint administrator Simon Thomas. “We’re encouraging customers to redeem their gift cards and vouchers as soon as possible.”

The firm would “make every effort to secure a buyer for all or part of the business”, he added.

The UK arm of the global toy chain narrowly avoided administration in December after a deal was agreed with the Pensions Protection Fund that involved cutting 800 jobs and closing a minimum of 26 stores.

However, sales over the crucial Christmas period were worse than expected, as online retailers tightened their grip on the market.

Meanwhile, Maplin has announced that it will work with administrators PwC after rescue talks with potential buyers broke down.

Boss Graham Harris blamed the electronic retailer’s collapse on a slump in the pound, weak consumer confidence and a withdrawal of credit insurance, Business Insider reports.

The chain, which has around 200 UK stores and employs 2,500 people, will remain open for business during the administration process.

Labour’s shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has urged the Government to help Maplin and Toys R Us employees.

“It’s devastating that over 5,500 High Street jobs risk being lost,” said Long-Bailey, according to The Guardian. “This latest shock in the retail sector continues a worrying trend for our shopping streets and centres.”

She added: “The Government must urgently meet with both the unions and the companies to ensure that these jobs are safeguarded.”

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