Toys R Us UK has officially fallen into administration after weeks of teetering on the brink of collapse.
Around 3000 jobs have now been placed in jeopardy as administrator Moorfields steps in to begin the break up of the UK’s largest toy retailer.
It is not yet clear whether all of the retailer’s estate will be closed, but joint administrator Simon Thomas said the process is “likely to affect many Toys R Us staff”.
“We will be conducting an orderly wind-down of the store portfolio over the coming weeks,” he added.
“All stores remain open until further notice and stock will be subject to clearance and special promotions.
“We’re encouraging customers to redeem their gift cards and vouchers as soon as possible.
“We will make every effort to secure a buyer for all or part of the business.”
It will leave a £37 million pensions deficit in its wake, meaning the Pensions Protection Fund (PPF) will have to absorb the costs to avoid thousands of staff pensions being affected.
This follows frantic efforts to find a buyer before a £15 million VAT bill was due yesterday.
Doubts of the retailer’s rescue arose on Friday, after a potential investor walked away last minute.
Just before Christmas, Toys R Us UK secured a company voluntary agreement (CVA) – weeks after its US counterpart filed for bankruptcy.
The CVA included plans to shut 26 of its loss-making stores and cut around 800 jobs during spring, and was thought to have been a last minute rescue of the business.
However, poor trading over the Christmas period, largely driven by customers confusion over the health of the company following the deal, proved to be the final nail in the coffin.