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

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.”

Industry-specific ban on expats in Oman likely to remain, despite reaching recruitment target

Updated 26 min 56 sec ago

Industry-specific ban on expats in Oman likely to remain, despite reaching recruitment target

  • The Oman government imposed a recruitment ban on expats for 87 different lines of work in January
  • The initial target of recruiting 25,000 Omanis by May is almost reached, not the government is likely to double that number

DUBAI: Oman’s Ministry of Manpower has pledged to continue in its push to recruit locals over expats even after its target was reached, the Times of Oman has reported.

The government set itself a deadline of May, but it was already just 55 jobs shy of the 25,000 target, the report added, predicting that the remaining people would be appointed before the week was over.

Now the government is looking to double the target to 50,000 Omanis.

More than half of those recruited are men, according to government data, with male appointments accounting for 16,884, while 8,061 women were recruited during the same period. 

A ban on hiring expats in 87 professions was implemented in January as the Gulf country continued in its Omanization project, aimed at tackling high levels of unemployment among locals. 

And now the ministry has said Omanis should always be given priority over expats, when it came to hiring – adding that the ban would stay in force as long as there were Omanis suited to the positions.

Those people employed so far were appointed to private sector positions between December 2017 and April 2018, the report added.



The construction industry accounts for 32.4 percent of those recruited, with 14.5 percent going into the retail sector, 13.5 percent in manufacturing and 7.1 percent working in transportation.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Manpower said: “Most Omanis were hired in the construction sector as it has lots of job vacancies especially in the engineering, technical and administration fields.”

The push in Oman to recruit more locals is in line with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries which are following similar projects, not least in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.




An extension to the expat recruitment ban?

Not only is Oman’s Ministry of Manpower considering extending the current recruitment ban on expats for 87 professions, but also adding other lines of work to the list.


In numbers

The most recent census in 2016 put the Oman population at: 4,550,538. But expats account for nearly half at 2.082 million. There are 2.463 million Omanis