Toys R Us opens first store in B'luru

American toy retail giant Toys R Us has entered the Indian market with its first store in Bengaluru, even as the company is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.

The brand is entering India through a franchising model with Tablez, part of $6.2-billion LuLu Group International as its partner. With plans to set up over 65 stores across the country in a span of 10 years, Tablez has earmarked an investment of $50 million.

In an interaction with DH, Tablez Managing Director Adeeb Ahmed said, “The toys market in India does not have many organised players. There is opportunity here. The two brands Toys R Us and Babies R Us will cater to the mass premium market in India with prices ranging from Rs 150 up to Rs 40,000.” Average ticket price in India is at Rs 150 against about Rs 2,000 in an organised market, he added.

“As far as the bankruptcy development goes, the company maintains that it is a strategic move to restructure debt. Toys R Us is still committed to expansion across the globe,” he asserted. According to bankruptcy court filings, Toys R Us is said to have a debt pile of $5.2 billion, from which it is seeking relief.

The company recorded sales of $11.54 billion in the latest fiscal. Tablez, on its part has committed an investment of Rs 300 crore over the next five years in India. Having entered the apparel retail space this year with brands like Springfield and Women’s secret, the company is looking at launching a one-stop sports brand in India.

Apart from two more Toys R Us stores, Bengaluru will also get two more of each of the apparel brands’ stores. While focusing on its apparel-side of the business, Tablez is also expanding its F&B business.

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