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Toys 'R' Us set for UK comeback

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Toys'R'Us set for UK comeback
The Toys'R'Us relaunch will include both a bricks-and-mortar and online offering. Photo: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

In February 2018 the last Toys 'R' Us store closed its doors in the UK, shutting up shop after going into administration amid poor sales and lacklustre demand. 

Now, nearly four years later, the legacy toy shop is set for a UK comeback, with parent company WHP Global shepherding the launch following a successful reopening in Australia. 

WHP said in a press release that the relaunch will include both a bricks-and-mortar and online offering.

Toys 'R' Us has more than 900 stores and e-commerce sites across 25 countries generating over $2bn (£1.45bn) a year in sales. 

Online sales to UK shoppers will restart over the next several months, initially from existing operations in Australia, whilst it works to establish local teams, offices and logistics facilities during 2022 and 2023.

WHP said the UK has one of the most advanced e-commerce markets in Europe, with internet sales accounting for more than one quarter of all retail sales. This is forecast to be one-third of all retail sales by 2025.

A relaunch has also been touted for the US market. 

"Tailoring our successful Australian relaunch plan to the UK echoes the success of other e-commerce 'platform play' businesses that have delivered growth and value due to their ability to quickly and cost effectively expand their software, processes, partner relationships and brands into new countries," said Dr Louis Mittoni, CEO and managing director of Toys 'R' Us ANZ. 

"My team and I are looking forward to developing technical and commercial relationships with UK-based vendors and partners and to engage with the many loyal Toys 'R' Us former customers and fans in the UK."

Mittoni added that the brand had scaled quickly since its return to Australia in June 2019.

Read more: Chip shortage plagues UK car production as output falls 41% in September

When Toys 'R' Us left the UK market in 2018, its departure was put down to lower cost alternatives coming to the market with Amazon (AMZN) and a slow pivot to online retail. 

Hamleys, Woolworths and Hawkins Bazaar were legacy outlets that had also suffered from the onslaught of ecommerce, but Toys 'R' Us didn't learn from their example.

The total addressable market for toys and games in the UK for 2020 was £3.3bn, representing the largest toy market in Europe and the fourth largest globally.

Watch: Toys R Us set to make comeback with 400 shops opening in Macy’s stores

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