Singapore

Business as usual for Toys 'R' Us in Singapore despite US bankruptcy

Asian operations of company unaffected by bankruptcy filing in the US

The Asian operations of Toys 'R' Us are unaffected by the toy store chain's bankruptcy filing in the United States, its joint venture partner said yesterday.

Its businesses in the region, including in Singapore, are run by a joint-venture company formed with Fung Retailing, a unit of Hong Kong's private Fung Group.

Toys 'R' Us (Asia), in which Fung Retailing holds a 15 per cent stake, is a separate legal entity and financially independent of all other operating companies worldwide, the management said in a statement.

The main global company Toys 'R' Us Inc holds the other 85 per cent.

The Asian company's president, Mr Andre Javes, said: "Toys 'R' Us (Asia) is open for business and continuing to serve our customers as we always do.

"We are a financially robust and self-funding retail operation, which continues to significantly grow and invest in this region."

Along with its subsidiaries, Toys 'R' Us (Asia) runs more than 220 outlets in East and South-east Asia, with another 35 licensed outlets in the Philippines and Macau.

It has 11 stores in Singapore with a staff of 350.

It brought the Japan unit into its fold in March this year.

Global retailer Toys 'R Us, a fixture in post-war America's booming toys market, said yesterday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, strangled by heavy debt and a tough environment for brick and mortar stores.

The chain, founded in 1948 and "the world's leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer", announced the filing just as the company is gearing up for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for the bulk of its sales.

It noted that operations outside the US and Canada, "including its approximately 255 licensed stores and joint venture partnerships in Asia," are not part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

The filing is the latest sign of turmoil in the retail industry caught in a vice-like grip of online shopping and discount chains, as more than a dozen significant retail chains made similar filings this year.

Among them were Perfumania, apparel chains rue21 and Gymboree, discount shoe chain Payless Holdings and designer clothing chain BCBG Max Azria Global Holdings.

Major retailers including Macy's and Sears have closed hundreds of locations as they struggle to compete with discounters such as Walmart stores and Amazon.com. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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