81 Toys “R” Us stores in Canada to be sold to new Canadian owner

Toys “R” Us Canada will soon have a new owner as part of a deal that will see retail entrepreneur Doug Putman take over the chain from investment conglomerate Fairfax Financial.

Putman is the owner and founder of Sunrise Records, a music store chain with 85 locations across Canada. He also purchased the Canadian assets of HMV when the British music retailer went bust, and launched the T. Kettle chain of tea shops in former DavidsTea locations earlier in the pandemic.

Fairfax took over the toy retailer’s Canadian assets when the U.S. parent went insolvent a few years ago for $300 million.

Financial terms will not disclosed, but Fairfax will continue to own most of the real estate the stores sit on, and will have a share of any cash flow they generate.

“Fairfax retains substantially all of the real estate acquired in our original purchase of Toys ‘R’ Us Canada and, through a continuing royalty stream, we are provided with an opportunity to benefit over time in the future success of the business,” Fairfax said.

Putman, meanwhile, will get the day-to-day operations of the chain’s 81 locations across Canada, including its more than 5,000 employees who work either in-store or at the company’s head office in Vaughan, Ont., just north of Toronto.

“Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies “R” Us are extremely strong brands that have been in great hands over the past three years,” Putman said. “Since its split from the U.S., we’ve watched the way in which the company has grown and focused on the Canadian customer. Much has been achieved and we’re excited to help to drive the business forward.”

The chain is making a comeback in the U.S. too, with retailer Macy’s announcing on Thursday it plans to open 400 Toys “R” Us stores inside its own stores starting next year.

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