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Toys R Us expands in China

By TANG ZHIHAO in Shanghai | | Updated: 2013-05-13 13:09

Eyeing the tremendous business opportunities in the Chinese toy market, United States-based toy retailer Toys R Us is accelerating its expansion in China and plans to have 100 stores in the country in the next three years.

The multinational retailer currently operates 34 stores around China, including the new premises that opened on May 11 in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province. The company will have 50 stores around China by the end of 2013.

Toys R Us entered into China in 2006 by opening its first flagship store in Super Brand Mall in the Shanghai Pudong New Area. The company declined to reveal its sales growth rate in the country but said it had achieved double-digit growth in the past few years.

Mark Murphy, managing director of Toys R Us in China, said most new stores will be community stores that cover an area of 700 to 1,000 square meters. The community stores will have an additional focus on learning products, which are the most popular products in the country.

Murphy said people's desire for quality products is the main reason Toys R Us has been rapidly expanding in China since 2011. In November that year, Toys R Us formed a joint venture with Hong Kong trading company Li & Fung to deepen its penetration of the Chinese market. Toys R Us owns 70 percent of the joint venture.

"As the middle class grows in China and children remain very important, I think Toys R Us brand stands for three important things, which are authenticity, safety and quality," said Murphy.

The new stores will be opened in first tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai as well as lower tier cities such as Chengdu in Sichuan province.

Total retail sales of toys and games in China soared in value from $3.89 billion in 2007 to $8.3 billion in 2011, an average annual growth rate of 21 percent, according to statistics from global market research firm Euromonitor.

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