Toys R Us (UK) has entered administration today - putting the remaining stores and all 3000 UK jobs at risk.
The stores will continue trading while the administrator seeks a buyer, however the online sales will close immediately.
Gift Cards will still be accepted in stores
It is expected that a clearance of stock, as it stands in stores, will start soon following a similar process to the stores already in a "closing down" sale. That will mean varying discounts dependent on category. No new stocks will be delivered as stock at any distribution warehouses is more likely to be sold in bulk and turning up at retailers like B&M or Home Bargains.
In terms of Toys R Us being bought, I suspect if that is the case it will be the brand only - similar to what happened with Woolies. This may lead to us still having a Toys R Us brand, but not as we know it - perhaps reimagined as the high street type stores that have been doing well within the wider estate.
Smyths will likely look at sites where they don't have a presence having tended to avoid areas where Toys R Us are already established. But I think the larger Toys R Us stores are not attractive so rather than Smyths moving in to a building directly, we may find Smyths finding a smaller unit in the area to maximise the market while not taking on the big rental costs that Toys R Us carried.
The UK will then be left with Smyths and The Entertainer, as well as a handful of Toymaster stores, vying for business. While the general demand will be taken up by these companies as well as the supermarkets - the very slim collectors market that Toys R Us had a loose grip on will have to go online. After all Toys R Us were the only retailer with a Marvel Legends offering throughout the year, and same can be said about Star Wars Black Series - although both Smyths and Entertainer have recently reintroduced these to their stores.
It does open a big question about the recently announced Toys R Us exclusives that Hasbro are doing for both Legends and Black Series. With these so far down production they may have to find another UK offering - or simply only go into the US and Australia stores, assuming the US arm doesn't suffer the same fate.
I guess interesting times are ahead, and in the mean time our thoughts and sympathies go out to the 3000 or so Toys R Us employees and I would ask any of our readers who descend on Toys R Us for any closing offers are sensitive to the staff and their uncertain future.