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Toys ‘r’ us to open first local store
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    Toys R Us to open first local store
    The Nation, Published on October 06, 2005

    Outlet to be located in Central Bang Na. Toys R Us, the worlds biggest toy retailer, will make its presence felt in Thailand with its first local outlet slated to open this year at Central Bang Na in Bangkok, said a company official.

    This will be our first store in Thailand, and it will operate under licence from a Hong Kong-based licensee, said the official, who asked not to be named. She declined to be specific about the store.

    Toys Retailing (Thailand) will operate the store.

    Next Tuesday, to mark the occasion of its first official presence here, Toys R Us executives led by chief executive officer for the Asia-Pacific Peter Chats and chief manager for Thailand Manit Lertsakhonsiri will hold a press conference.

    The store will be one of the US$11-billion (Bt451 billion) New Jersey-based companys 1,500 outlets worldwide. The company is a market leader in both the United States and Japan. In the US, its biggest market, it operates the largest free-standing destination toy and baby speciality stores.

    The R Us family of brands offers a broad assortment of toys, games, sporting goods, electronics, software, baby products, childrens apparel and juvenile furniture.

    In a filing with the Commerce Ministry, Toys Retailing (Thailand) reported it was established last November and had registered capital of Bt4 million. Thai shareholders hold a 70-per-cent stake in the local company, with foreigners including a Malaysian investor owning the remainder.

    The Central Retail Group expressed interest nearly a decade ago in obtaining a licence to operate a Toys R Us store in the Kingdom, but until recently there had been no progress.

    In 1984, Toys R Us International opened its first foreign stores, in Singapore and Canada. Today, Toys R Us International operates, licenses or franchises 570 toy stores in 29 countries outside the US.

    The maker of favourite items for adults and children alike started in 1948, when 25-year-old Charles Lazarus began a business totally dedicated to children and their needs just in time for the post-World War II baby boom. Starting out selling furniture, he moved on to baby toys and then toys for older children. Everything his guests wanted, Lazarus tried to give them until Toys R Us eventually became a full-scale toy-store extravaganza.

    In 1957, Lazarus opened the first toy supermarket. His stores a success, Lazarus sold them to a company named Interstate. When Interstate filed for bankruptcy, Lazarus rejoined the company and returned it to profitability. Toys R Us became a public company in 1978 and today operates six divisions: Toys R Us US, Toys R Us International, Kids R Us, Babies R Us, Imaginarium, and toysrus.com.

    Business Reporters

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    <span style='font-size:17pt;line-height:100%'>Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us upbeat on prospects</span>

    Carrefour, shopping centre locations

    SUKANYA JITPLEECHEEP

    Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us, the world&#39;s largest children&#39;s product chain is teaming up with central shopping complexes and Carrefour hypermarkets to open 10 outlets over the next three years. The aim is to establish over 50 Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us stores in Asia by 2007, said Pieter Schats, CEO of Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us Asia Limited. The company plans to invest between 530 million and 620 million baht in Thailand over the next three years, according to Manit Lertsakornsiri, country manager of Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us Thailand.

    ``Though there are various cheap, China-made products now flooding into Thailand, we are not worried as we are offering safe products that are value for money. Our store will become the most preferred shopping destination for toys, and babies&#39; and children&#39;s lifestyle products in Thailand,&#39;&#39; said Mr Manit. In Thailand, Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us outlets will consist of flagship, satellite and convenience stores.

    The company will open its first two satellite stores in Thailand by the end of this year, with a 1,978-square-metre outlet at Central City Bang Na and a 1,124 sq m branch at Carrefour Rama IV. Its 2,268 sq m flagship concept is expected open at CentralWorld Plaza in June next year. In addition, 600 and 900 square metres will be set aside for its convenience stores in major cities, mainly at central shopping centres and Carrefour outlets. Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us expects to generate sales of about 500 million baht from its two outlets by the end of this year, with the figure expected to increase to 1.5 billion baht within the next three years.

    ``I am delighted that Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us is opening in Thailand and believe that Thai children will really enjoy the unique `wow&#39; experience that Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us brings to each of its stores,&#39;&#39; said Mr Schats.

    Mr Manit said Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us stores would be divided into seven zones, carrying the company&#39;s full range of more than 10,000 items, which span 500 categories; more than half of are exclusive to Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us, and special focus will be given to educational toys that help children learn and develop skills while they play.

    Jeremy Hobbins, group managing director of Li &amp; Fung (Retailing) Ltd, a franchisee of Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us for Asia, said that apart from toy business, the group wokld continue investing in Thailand through logistics, subcontracted manufacturing, its Slumberland mattress business and branded lifestyle products.

    Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us Thailand is a member of the Li &amp; Fung Retailing Group which has over 350 convenience stores (Circle K), branded lifestyle outlets (MNG, Ferragamo, Country Road and Calvin Klein jeans) and Toys ``R&#39;&#39; Us branches. It has annual turnover of US&#036;400 million.

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