Video: Leicester Toys ‘R’ Us to close – “The uncertainty is the worst part”

By Naomi Dann, George Picton-Clark, Aaron Wilson, Alice Gibbs and Hamza Syed.

One of Leicester’s Toys ‘R’ Us branches is on a list of stores scheduled for closure, with 26 larger stores nationwide to be closed throughout the spring of 2018.

An employee at the Leicester store, said: “We only found out two days ago, and we don’t know how they decided [which stores would be closed]. They haven’t told us when it will close either.

“It is a really tough time of the year for us. The uncertainty is the worst part.”

Although modern and interactive stores may be improving sales figures, the “difficult decision” to close nearly a quarter of the UK stores will put nearly 800 jobs at risk.

Rima Ali, 31, a shopper at the St. George’s retail park store added: “It’s sad that the store is closing down, however I am glad that there are options to shop online.”

Julie Harwood, 28, another Leicester customer of the retail giant, said: “Toy ’R Us is somewhere I visit every year to do my Christmas shopping especially this particular branch, so it’s sad to see it go,”

However, she insisted that she will use the new smaller store in Highcross Shopping Centre.

The US company, currently valued at over £428m, saw a dip in sales in their most recent full year records – but are still recording record pre-tax profits overall.

Managing director Steve Knights said that the chains older “warehouse style” stores had become “too big and expensive to run in the current retail environment”.

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“Newer, smaller, more interactive stores are in the right shopping locations and are trading well, while our new website has generated significant growth in online and click-and-collect sales”.

The UK spends more online than any other nation in the world, with a yearly average of £4,611 per person (BBC 2017).

Despite not knowing an exact closure date, Toys ‘R’ Us released a statement saying “there will be no disruption for customers shopping through the Christmas and New Year period.”

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