JOHANNESBURG - Toys “R” Us South Africa on Wednesday distanced itself from its US affiliate, which this week filed for bankruptcy, and said the South African business was performing well and on an expansion drive.
Toys “R” Us SA marketing manager, Nicole Annells clarified that the South African franchise was not in any way adversely affected by the “R” bankruptcy.
Debt-ridden Toys “R” Us Inc filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday in Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia. The retailer plans to soon increase its national footprint with seven additional stores expected to open between October to November, in addition to its current 53 stores.
By December, Toys“R” Us SA will have a solid 60 store presence. Annells said Amic Trading Toys “R” Us Southern African, which is registered in South Africa, was a privately-owned independent company operating under a license agreement with Toys “R” Us Inc.
"Amic Trading functions entirely independently from the Toys “R” Us global affiliates. Whilst Toys “R” Us Inc, which incorporates Toys “R” Us US and Canada, evaluates the restructuring of their operations and debt and continue to deliver an outstanding customer experience, this course has no bearing on the license territories which continue to trade as independent entities. The global strength and brand equity of the Toys “R” Us retail brand remain across all global retail locations”, said Annells.
Annells said,"The business is, in fact, doing better than before." She attributed this to a dynamic team and strong business model. “The highlight for Toys R Us as a brand is the ability to grow”, said Annells.
Annells said in the wake of the bankruptcy filing of Toys “R” Us Inc, the news had in fact increased peoples brand awareness of the company. Toys “R” Us South Africa as a brand positioned itself as amass retailers with the “best offering” when compared to other toy rivals, Annells said.
“Hamleys does not compete with Toys R Us directly as they offer a different business model”, explained Annells. Asked whether Toys “R” Us SA was also feeling the pinch of online shopping, which was a big factor in its US affiliates bankruptcy filing, Annells said, on the contrary, the company had embraced technology. The toy retailer had an online site and two apps, Toys R Us Shopping App and Babies R Us Registry App, she said.
- BUSINESS REPORT