Toys 'R' Us Remains Unfazed in Asia; Set To Open 60 Stores in 2019
Retail giant Toys 'R' Us may be shutting down many of its branches in the United States due to dwindling sales but its situation is the stark opposite in Asia. In fact, the company is reportedly poised to open 60 new outlets across the continent over the next 12 months alone.
According to the South China Morning Post, the 60 new branches will be mostly opened in China and Hong Kong, though it also lists Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan as its primary markets. Toys 'R' Us currently operates in 10 Asian countries, logging over 550 stores in the region and 182 in mainland China. The new branches will also include Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
In an interview at the brand's annual toy fair held recently in Hong Kong, chief commercial officer for Greater China and Southeast Asia Jo Hall reportedly said the demand for toys is recession-proof, hence their resilience amid a volatile economic environment. All they really need to stay relevant is to set up shop at the right location and to provide fresh, educational and fun experiences for the entire family.
Existing stores will reportedly be refurbished and new stores will be opened in the next year. Hall also revealed that the company's budget allocation for new outlets, online commerce, and information technology for 2018 is the same as 2018, though she declined to give specific figures. Toys 'R' Us Asia finally severed its ties from its debt-ridden US parent firm in November 2018.
According to Retail Dive, Toys 'R' Us Asia was sold to Fung Retailing and a group of investment companies in late 2018 for US$760 million. In the same article, Organization United for Respect policy director and campaign manager Carrie Gleason was quoted as saying that the Asian expansion is the reflection of the toy industry's continued strength. She also noted the environment in the US is different in Asia, particularly in terms of dealing with bankruptcy.