Smyths Toys, one of Mayo’s major business success stories in recent years, is to almost double in size by expanding its business into mainland Europe.
The Claremorris-based family-owned retailing group have agreed to buy rival, Toys R Us, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, in a deal which will add a further 90 stores to their network of 110 outlets located in Ireland and the UK.
The deal will make Smyths Toys one of the largest specialist toy retailers in Europe with group sales estimated at €600 million. Plans are reportedly in place for further European expansion.
No financial details of the deal have been disclosed but in a statement, the company said it has ‘entered into a definitive agreement’ to buy the tri-country Toys R Us unit, including its head office in Cologne.
Tony Smyth, a director of the company said: “We started the business more than thirty years ago and are very grateful to our customers, our employees and our suppliers for the support we have received.
“We are convinced about the future of multi-channel specialist toy retail and are confident that we can successfully introduce and grow our brand in continental Europe. The Toys R Us business is profitable, has a strong leadership team and already has many loyal customers. It provides a great starting point for our expansion.”
Toys R Us was founded in the US in 1948 and announced last September that they were filing for bankruptcy in the US. On March 15, it was announced that the US operations of Toys R Us were going out of business. The deal with Smyths is subject to approval by the US courts.
The Smyth family hail from Claremorris where they owned a shop and opened their first dedicated toy store in Galway 30 years ago.
Two of the Smyth brothers, Tony and Padraig, run Smyths Toys, and their shareholdings give them joint control. Tony, an accountant, is Managing Director and has been closely involved in planning the expansion, while Padraig is associated with toy buying.