Gulf Toys R Us stores remain open as US company files for bankruptcy

Shoppers shop in a Toys R Us store on Black Friday in Miami. (AP)
Updated 20 September 2017
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Gulf Toys R Us stores remain open as US company files for bankruptcy

LONDON: Toys R Us stores in the Gulf remain open for business despite the US parent company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
A statement from the company said that the US operation and its Canadian unit would file for bankruptcy but that some 255 overseas stores were not part of the proceedings.
“The company intends to use these court-supervised proceedings to restructure its outstanding debt and establish a sustainable capital structure that will enable it to invest in long-term growth,” it said.
It added: “The company’s approximately 1,600 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores around the world — the vast majority of which are profitable — are continuing to operate as usual.
Managers who spoke to Arab News at Toys R Us stores in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dubai said that they were trading as normal and were owned by separate entities.
Dubai-based Al Futtaim Group operates the largest number of Toys R Us stores in the region.
It has outlets in 19 locations across the Middle East and North Africa that include Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE, according to its website.
The company was not immediately available for comment.
Several big high street names that have gone bust in Europe and the US in recent years have continued to trade in the Gulf states where they typically operate through standalone companies under licensing agreements with one of the big regional retail players.
Toys R Us is filing for bankruptcy as the global toys market begins to ramp up for its busiest time of the year.
CEO Dave Brandon said the company intended to work with creditors to restructure $5 billion of long-term debt on its balance sheet “which will provide us with greater financial flexibility to invest in our business, continue to improve the customer experience in our physical stores and online, and strengthen our competitive position in an increasingly challenging and rapidly changing retail marketplace worldwide.”


Egypt stock market plunges as retail investors take flight

Updated 19 September 2018
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Egypt stock market plunges as retail investors take flight

  • Biggest index drop in Egypt since mid-2016
  • Saudi Arabia outperforms in Gulf

LONDON: Egyptian stocks tumbled to their lowest level this year on Wednesday as retail investors took flight.
A sharp rise in Suez Canal revenues, a major foreign exchange earner for the country, was not enough to quell investors concerns about the strength of the currency.
The main Egyptian stock index lost 3.8 percent which some fund managers blamed on generally negative sentiment toward emerging markets worldwide as well as more local speculation about possible currency devaluation.
“Our channel checks suggest the sell-off in the Egyptian market is local retail and institutions driven, on currency fears and speculation over a further round of devaluation,” said Vrajesh Bhandari, portfolio manager at Al Mal in Dubai, Reuters reported.
“Selling is further intensified as margin calls are triggered and technical support levels break down. The country canceled three consecutive Treasury auctions, citing investors’ unrealistic yield demands.”
Egypt’s Suez Canal revenues rose to $502.2 million in August up 6.7 percent from a year earlier according to official data released on Wednesday.
Elsewhere regional stock markets closed mostly lower with the exceptions of Abu Dhabi which edged 0.2 percent higher and Saudi Arabia, the best regional performer, which rose by 1.1 percent.
Saudi stocks are benefiting from the strong oil price which eased slightly yesterday but still hovered just under $79.
OPEC and some other oil producers including Russia will meet in Algeria on Sept. 23 to discuss how to allocate supply increases within their quota framework to offset the loss of oil exports from Iran following the introduction of sanctions by the US.
Those measures will come into force on Nov. 4 and data suggests that buyers are already retreating from Iranian crude purchases.
A key question for the oil price as well as regional stock markets in the weeks ahead will be the extent to which other Gulf oil exporters can compenaste for the loss of Iranian supplies by pumping more.