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Global toy retailer Toys ‘R’ Us to start manufacturing in India from next year


Global toy retailer Toys ‘R’ Us will start manufacturing private label in India by mid next year as it plans to expand aggressively to make India among the top five markets for the company, Stanley Silverstein, chief commercial officer, WHP Global, told ET.

The company has expedited the process of manufacture in India as the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has mandated that all electric and non-electric toys bear the ISI mark, and toys without an ISI mark are not permitted to be sold in the country.

WHP Global is a brand management firm with a portfolio of consumer brands that generate over 6.5 billion USD in retail sales.

“Majority of the manufacturing currently happens in China and a few other Asian markets. We don’t own any factories, but we have offices in countries to support our partners,” said Silverstein.

According to Nitin Chhabra, CEO, ace turtle, which holds licences to sell Toys ‘R’ Us in India, the groundwork for manufacturing in India has already been laid out.

“We will start seeing by mid next year manufactured Toys ‘R’ Us products. Apart from that, most of the assortments here right now, both online and in the stores is coming from a manufacturer from India because of the restrictions,” Chhabra said.The brand had filed for bankruptcy six years ago, but WHP Global acquired a controlling stake of Toys ‘R’ Us in 2021, following which it started expansion in existing markets and entering new markets.For the brand, the top five markets include the United States, Japan, China, Italy and Dubai.

“Our expectation with joint venture and the partnership that we created with Flipkart and with ace turtle is to quickly move India to the top three on a global basis, just given the opportunity here,” said Silverstein.

According to Imarc, India’s toy market reached a value of $1.5 billion in 2022 and it is projected to reach $3 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 12.2 percent during the forecast period of 2023-2028.

The company will continue to focus on physical retail and is opening a high-street store in Mumbai, which is part of its plan to open 75 stores in next few years.

“We are seeing really explosive growth in physical retail and powerful growth continuing in e-commerce as well,” the executive said.

Supply chain disruptions is the biggest challenge for the company.

“Supply chain has got disrupted because of the BIS regulation and the Indian manufacturing is kind of getting set up. But I think we are still at least about one and a half years away from the state we would like to be, till then there will be some supply constraints on this business,” said Chhabra.

WHP is considering bringing other brands to India to tap the growth of the market.

“We already have a number of the brands in the portfolio that will be trading in India and will be announced shortly. India is a very, very, interesting, and important market and we want to participate in the growth of this market,” said Silverstein.

Toys ‘R’ Us brand generates more than $2 billion in global retail sales annually through 1,400 stores and e-commerce businesses in 31 countries.

Ace turtle recently raised $34 million, or about Rs 293 crore, and it plans to use part of the capital for the expansion of brands under portfolio.


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