Holiday cheer in Toys 'R' Us PH as US stores fight bankruptcy

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2017 09:18 AM

Consumers shop at the flagship store of Toys 'R' Us Philippines in Ortigas Center, Manila on October 19, 2017. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Rows of Wonder Woman dolls and pumpkin baskets greet shoppers at the Toys 'R' Us flagship store in the Philippines, underscoring brisk demand, even as its North American counterparts are seeking bankruptcy protection.

Toys 'R' Us Philippines is opening 10 branches this year alone and at least 5 stores annually in the next 5 years to expand its current network of 78 outlets, said general manager Celine Chua.

The company is also planning an e-commerce foray as early as next year, Chua told ABS-CBN News.

The physical stores' trick or treat theme will soon give way to Christmas, where demand peaks. December alone can account for 30 percent of full-year sales, Chua said.

"We will continue to expand and invest in new doors as long as there is opportunity," Chua said.

The company is looking outside Metro Manila for expansion, both for stand-alone outlets and retail spaces within department stores, she said.

Toys 'R' Us Inc, the largest toy retailer in the US, filed for bankruptcy protection in September, with sales under pressure from online retailers and discount outlets.

Financial troubles are limited to the US and Canada, Chua said.

The most recent best seller is the fidget spinner, which showed how popular items on the internet translate to offline sales, she said.

Boys' toys outsell those for girls and "evergreen" items include the Transformers, Star Wars and Barbie, she said.

"All other territories are business as usual," Chua said. "All other stores continue to operate normally."