Toys R Us has been placed in administration, putting 3,000 UK jobs at risk. Electronics retailer Maplin is also reported to be on a similar course.
Commenting on the toy chain’s demise, Richard Lim, chief executive, Retail Economics, said: “All is not well on UK high streets. The perfect storm of spiraling operating costs, softer consumer demand, and seismic structural changes has claimed another victim.
“Put simply, the retailer was too slow to embrace omni-channel, was burdened with too many stores and failed to deliver a retail ‘experience’ good enough to stand out from their competitors.”
Alastair Lockhart, insight director at shopper marketing agency, Savvy Marketing, said: “As we read this morning that both Toys R Us and Maplin are on the brink of collapse, we are a reminded of how much the retail market has changed over the past 20 years.
“At the height of their success both of these retailers were famous for offering shoppers unrivalled range authority in their respective categories. When Toys R Us entered the UK market, the concept of a toy superstore was revolutionary, while Maplin was the go-to retailer for all shoppers’ more obscure electronics needs, from disco equipment to a specialist SCART cable.
“As we stand here today however Toys R Us and Maplin both find themselves built upon increasingly obsolete business models. The advent and growth of online retail – in large part driven by Amazon – means that distribution centres and websites, not vast store estates, are now the homes for retailers competing on range depth and breadth.
“Granted Maplin and Toys R Us have their own individual strengths, but these too are fading in relevance. While online retailers may struggle to match the advice offered by Maplin’s in-store colleagues, the reality is that increasingly tech-savvy shoppers are comfortable seeking answers to their technical questions using Google. And while stores have a role in inspiring children, in truth Toys R Us feels more like a toy warehouse than a home for interactive play and engagement.”