Toys R Us, the beleaguered U.S. toy retailer, is set to close its 100 stores in the U.K., beginning this week, on the back of news that a buyer could not be found to rescue it, according to multiple published reports.
The closure of the stores will mean that as many as 3,000 jobs will be lost, according to U.K. news sources.
READ: Weak holiday season force Toys ”R” Us Inc to liquidate US stores, give up restructuring plans - source
Moorfields Advisory, the company’s administrators in the U.K., moved to shut down Toys R Us’s business in the UK after it made considerable efforts to find a buyer for a portion or the entirety of the company.
Moorfields said in a statement that it made "every effort" to secure a buyer for all or part of the company’s business. "This process attracted some interest, but ultimately no party has been able to move forward with a formal bid prior to the expiration of the stated deadline.”
The toy retailer, which is owned by a consortium of private equity firms, had been searching for a buyer for its U.K. business for several weeks before formally appointing administrators last month.
The news comes after its parent company filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and Canada last year with US$5bn of debt.
The outlook for the retail sector in the U.K. has turned dreary, with retailers struggling to compete as consumers opt to buy goods online.
Maplin Co., the electronics company, also entered into administration last month after failing to secure a rescue deal in talks between its private equity owner, Rutland Fund Management, and billionaire Philip Day – the owner of fashion retail chains Jaeger, Peacocks and Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Difficult restructurings, meanwhile, face New Look, Prezzo and Byron as well.