Toys ‘R’ Us to close 180 US stores
Toys ‘R’ US has announced that it will be closing “a number” of its US-based stores beginning February, with the global retailer having filed for bankruptcy protection across North America back in September.
According to Reuters, this number will stand to be about one fifth of the company’s total US stores, equating to approximately 180 retail outlets.
CEO David Brandon made the announcement in a note to the firm’s customers, providing an update on the company’s progress amidst its efforts to find a financial solution to its predicament through the restructuring of its operations.
“The reinvention of our brands requires that we make tough decisions about our priorities and focus,” Brandon said. “To that end and following a top-to-bottom assessment of our business, we have decided to close a number of our US stores. We also intend to convert a number of locations into co-branded Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us stores.”
Despite undergoing these changes, the company has confirmed that all of its other stores across North American and Europe will remain open for business.
In addition, it will aim to expand more readily online to compete in the growing ecommerce sphere, as well as offering both heavy discounts and a more attractive loyalty programme in an attempt to entice customers.
CB Insights: US Insurtechs Compete In A Now Global Market
In the first half of the year, insurtech companies around the world have raised US$7.4bn, nearly doubling their funding in Q2. According to Digital Insurance, insurtechs have raised US$4.8bn in Q2—an 89% increase in funding from Q1. But US firms are no longer the sole beneficiaries.
What Are the Stats?
Out of the 15 Q2 mega-rounds—those that top US$100mn—only eight included American firms. Pretty good, you might say. That’s over half! But US companies only made up 38% of the deals, which marks a 10% drop from Q1 and a 12% drop from 2020. Technically, therefore, US insurtechs are less influential than they’ve been in the past. But who says this is a bad development?
Despite my American citizenship, I’d argue that a more globally diverse insurance market is only for the best. Many of the world’s citizens who could most benefit from improved insurance services live outside of the States—and deserve local, tech-savvy services.
Why Does This Matter?
You’re always going to see the typical insurtech contenders from Western countries. For instance:
- German-based wefox: US$650mn Series C
- UK-based Bought By Many: US$350mn Series D
- US-based Collective Health: US$280mn Series F
But it’s critical that we address risk across the world. American insurtechs might be some of the most technologically skilled firms in the industry, but it’s not their first goal to address floods in Southeast Asia, crop destruction in China, and COVID complications in South Africa. That’s why we should celebrate that the recent Q2 round included insurtechs from 35 different countries.
According to CB Insights’ Q2 2021 Quarterly InsurTech Briefing, this was the first time that they’d observed insurtech activity in Botswana, Mali, Romania, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. And ‘from a product, service, distribution, and underlying risk perspective, we—as a society and as an industry—are moving at an unprecedented speed’, says Dr. Andrew Johnston, Global Head of Willis Re InsurTech.
Just ask CB Insights. InsurTech value propositions have resonated with the world.