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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)
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.”

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