Toys "R" Us making play for Ireland


Peter Flanagan

US toy retailer Toys "R" Us are said to be preparing to expand into Ireland.

The firm, which has more than 1,500 stores across 33 countries, is apparently looking at sites in Dublin and other parts of the country with a view to opening six branches in the near future.

The expansion is likely to follow a franchise business model rather than be run directly by Toys "R" Us itself.

If a deal does go through it will not be the first time that the giant brand has dabbled in Ireland.

Back in 2010, it was reported that the retail giant had plans to open two stores along the M50, while it would also operate smaller temporary 'pop up' branches in a number of shopping centres.

Colliers International was retained to assemble a list of possible locations for the two 3,716 sq m stores that were planned for Dublin.

However, the plans were eventually shelved as the economic downturn turned into a full-blown crisis.

This time around the firm has apparently retained Bannon to identify suitable sites.

If it does eventually open shops here, Toys "R" Us will be the latest of the big US brands to set up an operation in Ireland.

The move which would likely be seen as an endorsement of Ireland's economic recovery, would follow the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch, its Hollister subsidiary and a host of other names to have set up here.

It would also present a direct challenge to Smyths Toys, which has long dominated the toy shop market in Ireland with little in the way of competition in recent years.