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Read about ERA’s Toys R Us insolvency experience

How sad it was to hear, in February of this year, that Toys R Us were going to cease trading, then subsequently close all their stores. No doubt many of us will remember where our local outlet was, and grew up around the thrill of its new toys, windows alive with light and movement, the annual Christmas crush – and the January sales stampede.

What happened?

Toys R Us was an international toy, clothing, video game, and baby product retailer founded in April 1948, with its headquarters located in New Jersey, USA.  At the time of it’s closure, there were some 2963 Toys R Us employees in the UK. On the 28th February BBC News cited five reasons for it’s failure, amongst them were the ‘digital ecosystem’, being priced out by the internet – and being located out of town, therefore out of sight.

What did we do to help?

ERA were delighted to be appointed in this case, knowing our customary compassion and empathy would benefit a large number of people.   Unusually for us, we decided to co-ordinate the work from our base in Tamworth, Staffordshire.  We always pride ourselves on deploying staff out to the sites of business so that we are really in the ‘thick of it’ and at the disposal of all involved.  However, in this case, we decided it would fracture effective contact and communication, so our office soon became the Toys R Us hub – with Gilly at the helm.

What challenges did you face?

We are accustomed to working for small and large organisations, so our versatility here was not an issue.  Instead, one challenge we had was that at the time of closure, many staff members were being paid minimum wage.  During the course of the insolvency process, the minimum wage amount changed. ERA’s experts immediately spotted this change and were able to absorb the new rate into the finalisation figures for staff.

What did ERA learn from the Toys R Us experience?

Insolvency is never a welcome procedure with the potential to cause stress and upset throughout the organisation involved.  In this instance, we were able to deflect some of this by ensuring staff received the newly enhanced minimum wage amount.

Our expertise and compassion shone through.

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