Toys R Us and Maplin enter administration

Owners pull plug after failing to find buyers for UK business

Electronics retailer Maplin and toy giant Toys R Us went into administration within hours of each other, placing more than 300 stores in jeopardy.

A black day for UK retail began when the UK’s biggest toy retailer Toys R Us appointed Moorfields Advisory as administrator to carry out “an orderly wind-down” of 105-strong toy chain.
For the time being all stores will remain open and joint administrator Simon Thomas said: “We will make every effort to secure a buyer for all or part of the business.” He pointed out that: “The newer, smaller, more interactive stores in the portfolio have been outperforming the older warehouse-style stores that were opened in the 1980s and 1990s.”

The company staved off administration in December after it agreed with the Pension Protection Fund to pay £9.8m to top up its pension fund. But a £15m tax bill is now reported to have brought down the business.

Analysing the background to the failure of Toys R Us, Patrick O’Brien, retail research director at Global Data said: “While the narrative about the demise of Toys R Us focusses on how it was killed by the Internet, data shows that the rise of multichannel player Smyths caused even more damage than Amazon.”

And hours later Maplin, with a 217-strong store chain, followed into administration after owner Rutland failed to secure potential sale to Edinburgh Woollen Mills.
leanor Parr, retail analyst at GlobalData said: “Maplin’s debt was an ongoing concern to its suppliers who worried about its future should it fail to generate cash to pay the debt loaded onto it by its owners and today they have been proved right.”

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