Future of Bedford’s Toys R Us revealed as full list of store closures is announced

Toys R Us stock
Toys R Us stock

The future of Bedford’s Toys R Us has been revealed after the company announced plans to close a third of its UK stores.

The retailer announced on Monday it is working on a company voluntary agreement (CVA), which would allow it to jettison 26 loss-making stores.

The firm said the transformation plan is needed to “meet the evolving needs of customers in today’s UK retail market”. It is understood that 500 to 800 jobs could be lost as part of the CVA process, as the company expects that it will be required to make redundancies.

Now the full list of proposed closures has been announced and Bedford appears to have survived the cull.

The Watford store in Hertfordshire is the nearest branch set to close.

The full list of stores earmarked for closure

Aberdeen, Basingstoke, Belfast, Newtownabbey, Birmingham St. Andrews, Bolton, Bradford, Brislington, Cambridge, Cardiff, Derry City, Doncaster, East Kilbride, Exeter, Hayes, Kirkcaldy, Leicester, Livingston, Old Kent Road, Plymouth, Scunthorpe, Shrewsbury, Tamworth, Tunbridge Wells, Watford, York, Manchester Central Retail Park.

The retailer said that all efforts will be made to redeploy team members where possible. Toys R Us, which trades from 84 stores in the UK and has 21 concessions, employs a total of 3,200 people, but the company assured that there will be “no disruption for customers” throughout the Christmas and New Year shopping period, with the business set to start closing stores in Spring 2018.

Steve Knights, managing director of Toys R Us UK, said the warehouse-style stores opened by the retailer in the 1980s and 1990s have proven “too big and expensive to run”, adding that “newer, smaller, more interactive stores in the right shopping locations” were trading well.

He also pointed to a “significant growth” in online sales and its click-and-collect offering. “Like many UK retailers in today’s market environment, we need to transform our business so that we have a platform that can better meet customers’ evolving needs.

“The decision to propose this CVA was a difficult one, but we determined it is the best path forward to make essential changes to the business,” Mr Knights said.