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.”


Germany: US calling European cars a threat is ‘frightening’

Updated 16 February 2019
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Germany: US calling European cars a threat is ‘frightening’

  • ‘If these cars ... suddenly spell a threat to US national security, then that is frightening to us’

MUNICH, Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday labelled as “frightening” tough US trade rhetoric planning to declare European car imports a national security threat.

“If these cars... suddenly spell a threat to US national security, then that is frightening to us,” she said.

Merkel pointed out that the biggest car plant of German luxury brand BMW was not in Bavaria but in South Carolina, from where it exports vehicles to China.

“All I can say is it would be good if we could resume proper talks with one another,” she said at the Munich Security Conference.

“Then we will find a solution.”

A US Commerce Department report has concluded that auto imports threaten national security, setting the stage for possible tariffs by the White House, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The investigation, ordered by President Donald Trump in May, is “positive” with respect to the central question of whether the imports “impair” US national security, said a European auto industry source.

“It’s going to say that auto imports are a threat to national security,” said an official with another auto company.

The report, which is expected to be delivered to the White House by a Sunday deadline, has been seen as a major risk for foreign automakers.

Trump has threatened to slap 25 percent duties on European autos, especially targeting Germany, which he says has harmed the American car industry.

After receiving the report, the US president will have 90 days to decide whether to move ahead with tariffs.

Trump in July reached a trade truce with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, with the two pledging no new tariffs while the negotiations continued.

Brussels has already drawn up a list of €20 billion ($22.6 billion) in US exports for retaliatory tariffs should Washington press ahead, the commission’s Director-General for Trade Jean-Luc Demarty told the European Parliament last month.

The White House has used the national security argument — saying that undermining the American manufacturing base impairs military readiness, among other claims — to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, drawing instant retaliation from the EU, Canada, Mexico and China.

Trading partners have sometimes reacted with outrage at the suggestion their exports posed a threat to US national security.